Earnest Words

12/21: 86 on Welk Resort Fountains

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So I have not been keeping up this blog but I think now is the time for me to begin introspection again. That’s because, since my post on August 13th, I have played 12 rounds. Even more exciting, I accomplished my goal of 10 years: I broke 100!

I scored a 97 at Oceanside Muni on September 5th, then followed that with a 95 at Oceanside Muni on 9/12 and a 96 at Arrowood on 9/16.

Okay the 97 at Oceanside Muni had a breakfast ball on the first tee and suspicious play from a bush where I am not sure I counted strokes correctly. The 96 at Arrowood had a disastrous 18th hole where I played the wrong ball for 3 strokes before correcting myself. I think I needed to add 6 strokes to make a bad 7 into a terrible 13. 102 would still be a record for Arrowood. But the 95 at Oceanside was 100% legitimate and also included this gem of a hole.

Even better, I had pared the previous hole. My friend Jimmy frequently calls these holes par 4.5s so I felt really proud.

I have since reverted to form with some challenges on my most recent rounds, mostly caused by golf being hard. I also got new clubs which I was able to play with for the first time on Wednesday, 12/21 where we will now being our tale.

Oh let’s talk shop but not really because I don’t know how to talk shop.

The new clubs are all Cobras: a new 5 wood, a new 4 hybrid, 5 iron through to pitching wedge and gap wedge, and a new Supernova Putter.

The putter is what I was most excited for, because during the fitting, the fitter remarked, “Uh, this club is really bent. In like 2 places” and wouldn’t you know it, once I got a not-bent putter, I was draining 9-foot putts very, very consistently. [Insert Steph Curry metaphor here!]

Today was my first day of winter break and I decided to rustle a group to head to the Welk Resort, which is a blast from the past for me. We played the Welk pretty regularly back when my brother-in-law worked there, when he could get us $12 rounds. This was slightly more expensive and we had 8 players (well, 1 guy canceled last minute but he at least let us know). I did invite 20 different people – which I have a spreadsheet. But that’s a different story.

So I played the Welk when I was incompetent and couldn’t break 100 on this par 62 course. Now I am more competent and have gotten under 100 pretty safely tehre but … it’s a par 62. I’d like to shoot an 89 for a +27.

Fortunately, I had no such aspirations when I rolled up to the first tee on a bright, warming December morning. First tee is brutal: it’s a short par 3 but there’s no range and there’s a lake left and a parking lot right.

I hit what I thought was a good shot that ended up being short. That left a  20 yard-ish chip to a front pint position – which I’ve been working on. Great chip with my new gap wedge to about 11 feet. Then I missed the par putt on the wrong line and tapped in for bogey.

Hole 2 has always been a tough one for me. It’s uphill and the right side is guarded by OB stakes and trees. There’s some large trees in the middle of the fairway that warn against a shot too far left.

I have never been able to bogey this hole. I always screw up off the tee and was fully prepared to do so this time.

But I didn’t! Smacked my new 4 hybrid up hill and down the fairway, 184 yards and then plopped a 60 degree 62 yards to the middle of the green.

I told my playing partners to beware of putting too long and then promptly missed my birdie putt about an inch left and about 15 feet long.

My comebacker hit the pin and caromed off  – so that was a pretty disappointing bogey. You better believe I was hyped for a birdie.

But a bogey was a good score and  – I just kept making bogies.

Hole 3: thin tee shot ran off the green. Good chip that just missed the hole and ran all the way down. But a 38-foot 2-putt is good news.

Hole 4 I flared my 7 iron right but the ball was pin high and in play. Good chip but missed the 8 footer about a ball short for another bogey (as far as I remember, I did this a few times).

Hole 5 was the first one I busted out my new 5 wood and had back-to-back bad results. Topped the 5 wood off the tee and then topped it along the fairway into the rough. Why did I buy that club?

However, my hillside lie (ball way above my feet in the rough) meant I had bad contact for my pitching wedge – but I chose wisely and got the ball close to the green. I just missed the 19-yard putt chip and it ran out to about 12 feet – a putt which I made.

Hole 6 was a stinger of a 6 iron that just ran off the back of the green. I had another case of the good contacts with my putter (compared to the dead face of my old putter) and I missed my putt chip really long – well I mean I was going for birdie and just missed the line.

So that was another bogey, my 6th in a row.

Hole 7 saw more tee and 4 hybrid struggles, and my first encounter with the higher spin of these new clubs. A shot that would normally run out did not run out at all and that meant I had to chip on for my 4th shot. It was a good putt chip to 5 feet a distance from which i promptly 3-putted after another case of the blasted-past-the-hole first putts. Yay a 7.

Hole 8 I thinned my tee shot into the sand, had a great sand shot, and made another bogey.

Hole 9 I crushed my 5 iron 196 yards to the center of the fairway, setting up a 100 yard gap wedge shot that just spun onto the fringe. Ended up missing the chip putt for birdie again, leaving me with a lot of meat on the bone for a bogey.

So that was a really good front 9, just +11. I was pretty hyped. +11 and it felt real easy.

Hole 10 is a hole that I’ve lately struggled with. I thought I was aiming plenty left, but I managed to hit a dorky fade OB. I dropped in the fairway and chipped on to three putt for a 7. Ugh.

Hole 11 is another challenge over the water. I hit it, no joke, 114 yards to 3 feet from the hole. I marked the ball and promptly burned the lip on the 3 footer. No birdie for me.

But that’s a lot of birdie chances and a par, finally!

Hole 12, I poked my 5 wood out into the fairway (almost into a sand trap but nice and long) and then hit a half gap wedge a little bit too short. A chip and missed putt led to a bogey – but the missed putt was another close one.

Hole 13 is a long par 3 that I smoked my 6 iron over the back of the green – hilariously my 5 wood, 6 iron, 5 iron, and 4 hybrid all go the same distance – why’d I spend so much on the wood and hybrid again?

But it was on the back of the green – I just missed the long 28 yard putt chip and had to settle with missing another 5 foot putt. Still figuring out this putter but at least I didn’t blast it this time.

Hole 14 I hit my 8 iron to 142 yards, a little long and a little left. I blasted my putt past the hole and then had to 2-putt back up another 30 feet. At least I made the 30-foot 2 putt…

Hole 15 I mishit my 4 hybrid but then did not mishit my pitching wedge up the hill. I was a little long but managed to chip it on close and clean up for a bogey.

Hole 16 I had a faded 5 iron that ran down the hill. I then tried my 20 yard 60 degree shot which I do not have – I skulled the ball into the sand trap and the ball had a enough top spin to roll out and onto the fringe. 2-putt for an ugly par. I mean, I’ll take it but — not sure why I decided to hit a club that I cannot hit 20 yards … 20 yards.

Hole 17 I took a little bit too much off my gap wedge – still figuring out that club and I made a ¾ swing when it needed to be a full swing. Oh well.

I then made my first double-chip of the day, when I attempted to have a 15 yard shot carry 23 yards. Oops. The second shot got on the 5 feet and I once again failed to have the putt drop. My first double though. That was interesting…

Hole 18 I decided to hit 5 wood and cranked it with a draw down hill. I ended up right next to the tee box of #2 and then hit a really bad gap wedge, into the lake that guards hole 1. I did get the ball out and got up and down in … 4 more shots for an 8.

But it was an 86 on a course that I have scored 95 and and 94 on before. So while it wasn’t too pretty, it felt … easy. There were some sticky situations but nothing was particularly fraught. It was just a really lovely time.

Across’s weird summary

Arcoss’s much better screenshot

Good shots that I would want again

  1. Chip on hole 1: uphill and short sided and left myself a good putt even if it was 11 feet
  2. Tee shot on 2
  3. Approach shot to 15 feet on 2
  4. 15-foot second putt that drops 50% of the time
  5. 38-foot 2 putt on 3
  6. 38-foot 2 putt on 3
  7. Chip on hole 4 to 8 feet
  8. Putt chip to 12 feet from 19 yards.
  9. 12-foot make on 6
  10. Tee shot on 7 to back of green
  11. Sand out on 8
  12. Tee shot on 9
  13. Gap wedge on 9
  14. Chip putt from 17 yards on 9 – on another day it drops for a birdie
  15. Tee shot on 11
  16. Tee shot on 12
  17. Tee shot on 13
  18. Chip putt on 13
  19. Tee shot on 14
  20. 29-foot 2 putt on 14
  21. 29-foot 2 putt on 14
  22. PW recovery on 15
  23. Putt to 3 feet on 15
  24. 3-footer for bogey on 15

So not a lot of perfect shots but … I got around the course pretty well.

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