Earnest Words

A fun round with a not-fun result: Arrowood on 12/28

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Not having learned my lesson last week (in that it is very challenging to organize large rounds), I also organized a large round on Wednesday, 12/28, at Arrowood. This time, I invited 20 people – and, once again, we also had 7 people who could make it.

Organizing a round is a lot of effort. In the end, it turned out great: we had a great group and I got to play with my friend Jimmy. We had the second, 7:21 am tee time, right in front of a Junior Championship Tournament. The upside of it was that it was like playing a private course. The only other group we saw was our friends on the 7:12 tee time when they turned for home on 18 and we were teeing off on 15 (they had 3 and we had 4).

The bad side was that it was after a rainstorm and the course was soggy. Which meant that many holes were cart path only and Arrowood enforces cart path only with extreme, GPS-aided prejudice. Does it slow you down and ask you to stop on the cart path? … No. But also Yes.

Our tee time was really early and, for whatever reason, I wanted to focus on putting leading into the round. After all, putting had been bad at the Welk the week before. So this week I hit maybe 500 putts and felt pretty good.

My group was me, my buddy Jimmy, who recently shot a 65 on this course and was en route for a course record when the putts stopped dropping in, and his friend Ky and Ky’s friend Tommy.

So Ky is someone that I know from middle school and high school with whom Jimmy has stayed in touch with (and by that, they’ve played a lot of golf). Tommy was new to me and Tommy said he had trouble getting off the tee. Because I have no chill and do not understand what people mean when they say stuff like this said, “That used to be me. I took some lessons and feel pretty confident now.”

… You know what that means.

Here is me and Jimmy on the first hole. “You can take this picture for your blog!” he said.

Then Jimmy recorded this swing of mine.

There is something particular that I noted here: I over-cocked it. My coach and I have been working on not taking too long of a backswing and looky there: My arms come way, WAY too high. 

So that’s pretty much the story of this round: I could not reorient to my correct, easy swing and I was on the struggle bus.

Hole 1: low ball flight off the driver (ugh – not what was happening on the range two days ago after 40 warm up shots!) slicing down into the hazard. “Quit this round and start a  new one!” my playing partners said.

So I did, and top-skipped the ball, left off the tee into a tree root maybe … 80 yards from the tee.

This was also when, for whatever reason, Arccos struggled to track my shots.

Dropped off the tree root and punched it back into the fairway, around 180 from the green.

Did I mention I was playing from about 20 yards back from where I usually am? As I realize that, I certainly would have kept the initial shot in play had I played from the proper tees. Whoops.

So my fourth shot was from the fairway into the green. I hit a fairly thin, fading 5 iron into the right rough, short of the bunker defending the green.

It was about 20 yards to clear the bunker and I thought, “My pitching wedge long chip goes at least 20 yards: i’ll do that.”

I chipped the pitching wedge 19 and a half yards, right into the lip of the bunker. Goll durned.

I hit a great sand shot out of wet sand to 30 feet and nearly holed the 30 foot putt … for a quad bogey.

So that’s 225 words on 11 minutes of play. Hooray.

Learning from my mistake, I decided to hit my 4 hybrid on hole 2, a long par 5. Instead, I had a low slice (aka another shank) that skipped off the right side of the fairway, into the rough and just into the hazard.

So that’s a drop and a terrible 8 iron shank into the bunker right of the fairway, right where an errant tee shot would have ended up

8 iron from the bunker couldn’t get out because I had another shank that moved to the front of the bunker – then I finally got it out which was an excellent shot.

Oh, and at this point, did I mention that it was all cartpath only so far? Yeah, so that was a lot of walking for me.

140 from the center of the green, I topped an 8 iron to the front of the green.

Are you catching what I’m pitching at this point: that I’m really struggling with contact? Oh good. Because I knew that was happening and couldn’t fix it.

Good chip on and two-putted in got in for a charitably scored 9. Is it a 10? Yes. Am I taking it? No.

This may have been my first lip out but I’m not sure.

Hole 3 became very hard when we moved back tees. I hit a 7 iron fade that stayed in play but gave me a heart attack.

I had a bad chip with my gap wedge and then a great chip with my sand wedge; technically this was a double-chip where I went half the distance I wanted to go but I think it was a fairly soggy lie? Not sure why I missed it.

The sand wedge wasn’t soggy: it rolled close to 5 feet.

I know that I did lip out from 5 feet. Both ugh and nice.

Hole 4 I hit my 5 wood and it sliced. Every shot is topping out at 150 yards. This one went 165 yards but it was in the fairway at least – just in time for me to hard top a 6 iron. So instead of having a 6 iron going 220 yards to the green (not the plan but – cart path only…), my 6 iron went 70 yards.

That left me 150 yards, the perfect distance to thin a 6 iron to 15 feet. This one was a good putt that finished close for an easy 2 putt.

Hole 5 I hit a terrible top 4 hybrid off the tee: one of those ones where it skips to maybe 40 yards away, still on the tee boxes. Meanwhile, the guy who struggles off the tee was a stripe show, naturally. Just absolutely pounding the ball.

So after the topped 4 hybrid barely made it to the appropriate tees for me, I hit another 4 hybrid and hit it low and thin and nearly into the sand trap left.

Next shot was another shanky 8 iron. At least it led to a good approach — a perfect line to thin a gap wedge through the green and into the rough. At least it was pin high?

Really great chip putt that just missed dropping for a bogey. That left me 4 feet, a 4 footer which was super fast and I stopped maybe 1 ball length from the hole. That’s a 7. Great putt though that maybe drops a different day.

Hole 6 – shank a 7 iron nearly into the hazard right. Hit a 9 iron that doesn’t go long enough (probably a mishit due to the distance and lie). Excellent gap wedge chip that runs over the hole and doesn’t drop. 3 footer for par.

Amazing how much less I write when things go well. Even when they go poorly and go well.

Hole 7 is a bug bear and was playing really long for me. But I was wise and hit 5 iron off the tee. It didn’t go as long as I was hoping but I think it may have been the water everywhere? It was 159 yards according to Arccos, but Arccos (sic?) was having trouble.

But the ball was in the fairway. So I decided to hit another 5 iron, aiming up the left side. That was not well struck (nice and thin) but it ran up short and left of the hole.

I hit a pitch shot this time instead of a chip shot and just barely made the green. A 25-foot lip out leads to a tap-in bogey. What an excellent hole.

I wish there was something I could say here but – it was just easy. I was also making decent contact which was nice.

Hole 8 I apparently hit my 60 degree off the tee (Thanks Arcoss (sic?)) 146 yards. This was the only ball I hit well and the ball went straight and just died short of the green – the spinny irons worked!

I had another 60 degree shot (not sure it was a 60 but … oh well) that rolled to 9 feet. This was another shot that stopped just a ball short of the hole, leading to a nice bogey.

Hole 9: since I was striking the ball well, I decided to hit driver. This meant I hit a slice 163 yards into a bunker right – ugh.

Great play from the bunker to the fairway (8 iron 135 yards) leading to a 4 hybrid from the fairway shorter than the bunker shot (129 yards).

That left me an 83 yard gap wedge shot that just barely missed the green – because I hit it well and it spun to a stop. Easy putt chip that just missed to a 6 footer – which I made for bogey.

So after a disastrous first 5 holes with 1 bogey, 1 double, a triple and 2 quads, I went par, bogey, bogey, bogey – with a chance to make it birdie, par, par, par.

Hole 10 is an easy version of hole 1 and I hit driver with the only good strike all day: 200+ yards to the middle of the fairway.

That’s an 8 iron approach and I promptly topped the 8 iron — but it was downhill and rolled to the fringe.

I had another 20 yard chip that absolutely needed to go 22 yards — but the shot goes 20 yards. So I had to carry 20 yards to go over the bunker and … hit it 19.74 yards into the bunker. Great…

The sand shot was really tough: fringe of the bunker, wet sand, huge lip. I didn’t make good contact, but the ball rode the lip out of the trap and to the fringe (and nearly hit mister stripe show).

That left me in the rough distant from the fringe and I decided to use my 60 degree and fluffed the chip. 

Terrible putt chip after that just missed the hole and then a 2-putt from 13 feet for an 8 – with 6 strokes from 30 yards out.

Hole 11 was a long one: like 170 yards to the pin. For some reason, i hit 6 iron and hit a terrible top (what else is new?).

I then had a 60 yards pitch shot that’s an inbetweener for me. It’s a perfect 60 degree shot but there was a bunker guarding the green short. So I decided to hit an easy pitching wedge and it went perfectly … long. It ran off the green and ended up not going in the bunker, leading to a downhill shot to a downhill green, playing the shot from the bunker, about at my belly button.

I made an excellent shot from there: I chipped it down the hill and it rolled just past the hole to 6 feet. That was amazing.

And I then promptly missed the 6 footer just right (maybe another lip out?).

Hole 12: Second toughest on the course, I think, maybe the 3rd. Long Par 4 with a cutout hazard defending the green with a huge bunker left.

I hit an okay tee shot with driver again about 200 yards, but to the right side, leading to a blind shot.

I hit 5 iron (a victim of the cart path) and topped it 80 yards. That left me at perfect PW distance from the center of the green and I promptly topped the ball into the hazard.

Second shot was safe, if left of the green. Excellent gap wedge chip to 5 feet and buried the putt.

Hole 13 is an easy hole that I struggle on: it’s a par 5 that is wide open but I cannot. Seem. To. Keep the ball in play. I hit a great tee shot, I thought, and instead the ball nearly missed the club face. Apparently it went 193 yards but not where I wanted to be at all.

I decided to hit 5 wood (or 5 iron?) and … topped it — through the bunker at least. That led to a 7 iron that I chunked (my only chunk!) and then topped the second shot — trying to lay up to ensure an easy shot to the green. 

Since laying up was working so well, I decided to split the difference of the 270 yards remaining and hit a 9 iron. Naturally, I topped it. At least it moved forward.

Hit my pitching wedge thin but onto the front of the green, leaving to a great 30 foot 2-putt.

Hole 14 – hit another big sweeping drive that went … 160 yards. Then finally hit a decent 5 wood that went … 170 yards (but it did get caught in the rough so maybe it’d go longer?)

That left me at the fringe of the green but super uphill to an uphill green and I decided to chip my 6 iron. I didn’t make contact to get the ball in the air but did roll out to like 16 feet out.

Promptly 3-putted from 16 feet. Arccos did its thing it’s doing lately where it recalculated my putts to say that i was 7 feet out on my second putt – that is not what happened here. I had a 4 footer that I lipped out.

Hole 15 was a pretty long par 3 but on the short part of the two tiered green. I had an excellent tee shot that I hit thin (what else is new?) and ran onto the green, pin high at 12 feet from the pin.

Misread the putt so I missed the birdie putt about a cup low. But an easy, easy par on a hard hole. Right pace, wrong line. Not much to say — it was easy.

Hole 16 I hit a sky ball that bounced back into the fairway and rolled long enough to seem like a good strike. Additionally, I may have been playing someone else’s ball. I laid up from the water with a good 100 yard gap wedge (finally good contact!), and then promptly topped my pitching wedge into the water.

I did manage to get my SW onto the green with an excellent 60 yard wedge. Easy 2-putt for a triple bogey.

Hole 17

I did something incredible here. Absolutely smoked my driver but went completely under the ball. The tee flew off at 200 miles an hour and the ball just … dropped down.

My next hit was a terrible slice that barely stayed in play right. I took relief from the cart path and hit a punch 9 iron into the fairway – that was actually really good. Then a PW that I hit thin and just stopped in rough.

A great LW blind up the hill that just missed going long enough to get onto the second tier of the green. But I had a great lag putt that led to another missed short putt. That one was a dipsy doo that gave me automatic ball return. That or it was 1 ball short.

Hole 18 I had an okay drive that went about 50 yards shorter than I thought – which was nice on another cart path only where I had a 6 iron that I then topped over the bunker and into the water.

My gap wedge missed long but got over the water and I then 3-putted with a chip putt (so a technical 2 putt). That’s 3 7s in a row.

Back 9 was a pretty bad 57 with 1 par, 3 doubles — and nothing else good.

I putted really well and chipped well, hole 10 non-withstanding. 35 putts with 2 3-putts. My problems were contact which were all:

  • Alignment
  • Contact, likely due to overswinging and under rotation

That’s disappointing. But it’s time for the chair drill and some better alignment. There was one time where I almost shanked my tee ball with the driver.

Hilariously, I apparently struggled on: 200+ yard approach shots, as well as shots from the rough and shots from the fairway.

So I’ll take a lesson to improve ball striking and will also work on getting a 25 yard shot — and I’ll use that one when I have to carry 20 yards.

Great shots that I would want again:

  1. PW from a tree root on hole 1
  2. Sand out on hole 1
  3. 28-foot two putt that nearly went in
  4. 28-foot two putt that nearly went in
  5. Second 8 iron out of the bunker
  6. 17-foot 2 putt – first lip out (I think?)
  7. 17-foot 2 putt on 3
  8. SW chip on 3 to 5 feet
  9. 5 foot lip out on 3
  10. Thin 6 iron to the green on 4
  11. 15-foot 2 putt on 4
  12. 15-foot 2 putt on 4
  13. Chip putt on 5
  14. Gap wedge chip nearly holed on 6
  15. 3-footer for par on 6
  16. Tee shot on 7 was a nice shot
  17. SW pitch to the green
  18. 25-footer lipped out
  19. Easy tap-in bogey
  20. Chip on hole 8 to 9 feet
  21. 9 footer that just missed
  22. Bunker shot on hole 9
  23. 6-footer for bogey
  24. Driver off the tee on 10
  25. Chip from the bunker on 11
  26. Second approach shot to lead to a 
  27. Great chip to lead to a 
  28. 5-footer for double
  29. Pitching wedge from 107 yards out to
  30. A 30-foot 2-putt
  31. A 30-foot 2-putt
  32. 5 wood from the fairway – finally good contact
  33. Tee shot on hole 15 to
  34. A great 2-putt par
  35. A great 2-putt par
  36. GW to layup was finally a good stroke
  37. SW over the water
  38. Easy 2-putt from 21 feet
  39. Easy 2-putt from 21 feet
  40. 9 iron punch shot
  41. LW to the green just missed long enough
  42. Great lag putt on hole 17
  43. Gap wedge to safety on 18

Bad plays (not necessarily unfortunate but ones I can correct)

  2. Tee shot on hole 1 – play an iron when you don’t warm up
  3. High-risk chip on hole 1
  4. Tee shot on hole 2 – play irons until you get a rhythm
  5. Better aim on the rescue shot on 2 – too aggressive a line led to 2 shots from the bunker
  6. Double chip on 3
  7. Not resetting after the bad tee shot on 5. Also– I have yet to hit an iron off the tee.
  8. Driver off the tee on 9…
  9. Pitching wedge leading to a quad chip on hole 10 (+4)
  10. Lob wedge instead of a gap wedge on hole 10 cost at leat a stroke
  11. Tee shot on hole 11
  12. 5 iron topped
  13. PW to the green into the hazard – played too casually
  14. Can’t make contact to save my life on hole 13

Here’s Arccos’s terrible summary:

Here is a much more meaningful summary

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