Played early morning when I was going to be stag. One daughter had theater, one daughter had Disneyland, and my wife had her sewing class.
So I went very early with a colleague and a neighbor. It was right before the men’s league so it was a hopping environment at the course. It was also very, very cold.
My legs were very sore from playing Frisbee for about an hour the day before. My calves were sore, my right thigh was aching and, when I wrote this a few days later, my arches still ached.
Got in a few putts and a few swings at the grass range. I was hitting my wedges really well: proper ball flight, tight location around the target. Then when I switched to longer irons, I felt me legs and realized: that this was going to be a long day.
First hole I struck a perfect 6 iron to the middle of the fairway. Then I hit a 7 iron at the left side of the green – and immediately push faded the ball into a tree on the right.
Fortunately, the ball dropped down in the short grass about 80 from the pin. And I hit the exact same shot I’d been hitting on the range, 80 yards, to 5 feet from the pin.
Dropped in the 5 footer and felt very happy for a lucky, opening par.
On hole 2, I hit a 5 iron off the tee – and topped it. It got into the fairway and I was about 145/150 from the pin. It was cold and hit my 8 iron which when it’s warm goes about 150 but not more.
Great stroke and the ball stopped short of the green which is where I wanted to be: going long on this hole is … not good.
Excellent chip on from the fringe to about a foot and then an easy tap-in par.
Back to back up and down pars to start a round is good but … let me tell you, I knew it was only a matter of time before my legs betrayed me as they did on the tee shot. (also, I think my ball position was more than a little off).
Hole 3 I hit the same shot as hole 1s second shot: a push faded 7 iron into the tree right of the green, short of the sand. Pitched it on to about 30 feet (over the sand!) and then gave a patented half-the-distance lag putt. After that, got it from 15 feet to 1 foot and tapped in for a double.
Hole 4: hit a sky-ball driver, right into the waste area. It was about 50 yards from the fairway turning the corner so I tried to hit it back into the fairway but cutting the dogleg. Unfortunately, I managed to top pull the ball back into the waste area, on a stick. I removed the stick (taking the unplayable lie penalty) and then promptly failed to pitch it back into the fairway again.
I know it was a bad lie but that was a real frustrating fail at recovery. Debilitating. With my 4th shot, I finally got back onto grass. Chipped it onto the green, very much short and 2-putted from 32 feet.
But the frustration was still to come:
Hole 5, I could feel the tiredness as I shanked the ball but at least not OB. Then a topped ball from the right side, a gap wedge way too long of the green, and then a chip skulled off the green. Did manage to putt it close for a 1 putt – but 4 shots before makes it tough to feel happy.
Hole 6 another terrible topped tee shot, when I didn’t go for it: 8 iron that was supposed to go over the tree guarding the right side of the fairway and instead I hit my tee shot so the tree was preventing any shot toward the green. So I aimed at the left side and finally hit a good shot with my 8 iron. 40 yards from the pin and I skulled the chip past again.
35 footer that I putted to 3 feet and promptly missed the 3-foot putt.
So after going par-par, I went double, triple, triple, double. Ugh. And while I missed 2 putts, the majority of those strokes were lost to bad contact. I know i was in my head about chipping and definitely upset by not being in grass.
On hole 7, I hit a great 150 yard pitching wedge to the middle of the fairway. I was about 200 yards from the green and decided to hit 4 hybrid. I don’t know why I did that instead of a 6 iron or a 5 iron – and I topped the ball into the hazard.
Dropped and hit a thin 7 iron at the left bunker which ran through the bunker and then out, onto the top fringe of the green. Putted it decently close to about 5 feet and then promptly missed the 5 footer for another triple.
Honestly, I played stupidly here. I should have split the difference and hit PW then gap wedge and I would have had a great chance at a 5, maybe even a 4.
Hole 8 I hit driver again and did the same thing: skyed the tee shot right to the waste area. I’m not sure why I was skying it (EDIT:ball position was the issue) but I was hitting the ground and hitting behind the ball. Again, not sure why.
Tried to hit a good 6 iron from the waste area and instead hit a terrible 6 iron but at least back into grass. Hit my gap wedge thin but forward in the fairway 130 yards and then hit my pitching wedge way too well 130 yards, way over the green.
I think I have had my swing totally screwed with by playing golf+ since that game prioritizes very violent swings vs a smooth swing that succeeds in actual golf. Although a 130 yard pitching wedge is what my full swing PW is doing now.
I was long of the green and hit a lob wedge onto the green. I wasn’t able to stop it and it just rolled off the green.
Managed to 2 putt from 30 feet from just off the green to 1 foot. Tap in for a good double for me.
Hole 9 had a top off the tee and then a good punch back into the fairway around the corner. Overswung and topped the ball off the ground and 1 yard to the right of my current position and then hit the green with a thin shot, 15 feet from the green.
Terrible putting for another 3-putt.
Finally hit the driver correctly: a little slicey but at least it went into the air. Ran out right to about 250 yards, leaving me 170 from the pin.
I hit an 8 iron super thin from the dirt and the ball ran for ages: pin high from 172.
(As I write this, I was 100% swinging WAY too hard which is likely why I was struggling to make good contact. Golf plus strikes again!)
I had the ball on the green, pin high but about 20 feet from the pin. Great lag putt to 3 feet – and I promptly missed the 3 foot putt.
A bogey after my first GIR for the day! I was pretty pumped and tried for birdie and … definitely assumed the par and didn’t just walk up and tap it in.
Great easy pitching wedge off the tee that was maybe a yard short of the green. Bounced and stopped. Great putt chip on to 4 feet and an easy peasy par.
This was really encouraging – always lovely to make a 4 footer.
Also hilarious how boring a par is to write about.
This is, famously, the whole where a 12-year-old Tiger Woods drove the green. You don’t hit driver on this hole because there is NO miss: left is OB and right is onto the green of 13.
I told this story to my playing partners and unfortunately my neighbor hit his driver OB. He ignored the story!
I smoked my competition who had a tee boxes 70 yards short of me with a good, smooth 8 iron. I was about 80 yards from the tee in the fairway and hit a perfect gap wedge to the green. 80 yards, 15 feet from the pin. Great putt close and another 3 footer miss.
This one I was really excited considering that I was going to 100% destroy all my playing partners. I mean, i still did, but I got a bogey – on another GIR.
I hit a good gap wedge downhill into the sand trap, a yard away from Jared who was also in the sand trap.
Jared, the named random playing partner, hit out of the sand and we had like 10 yards to the pin. He hit his 50 yards.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I had a reason for hitting tentatively out of the sound. I hit too gently and didn’t get out of the sand and had to get out a second time to 6 feet. Did not make the 6 footer by a very short amount.
Alas for a double bogey.
I said earlier in the round, “don’t let me hit driver on this hole.” And I didn’t hit driver on this par 5 that narrows between 200 to 250 yards.
I hit a 6 iron fairly toppy and thing – but I made it to the fairway! Then I hit a thin 7 iron to the fairway again and then I hit a good 8 iron short of the green – which was a good choice considering it left me no chance of being in the sand.
Chipped on, pin high but missed right to 12 feet. 12 foot 2 putt for my first ever bogey on 14, a hole that I always hit at least one ball into the hazard.
Hole 15 through 18 are some of the most challenging holes on the course. Hole 15 is long, hole 16 is long, and hole 17 is both long and very narrow with water guarding right.
Hole 18 is a severe dogleg and a bit of a respite but still tough.
Hole 15 was pretty funny. Skyball off the tee into a puddle. Dropped out for free and topped it to the cart path. Good 8 iron to the fairway, finally, and then a pulled 7 iron into the trees left of the green. That was terrible: double chunks to get out of the trees and then finally long … into a gopher hole…
It was at this point that Arccos helpfully asked if I wasn’t playing a different hole – nope these were all legitimate strokes, thank you.
Oh, and I 3 putted once I got onto the green so ended up with a 11. A legit 11 though!
Hole 16 was more of the same: sky ball off the tee and a good stroke back to the fairway then a shank and then another good stroke and then a decent chip on, followed by a 3 putt for an 8.
Hole 17, hit one ball in the water, provisional in the water, dropped at the first one and pitched back out to the fairway. Shanked the second ball into the water and rehit a good 9 iron up into the fairway. Chunked a pitching wedge, then shanked a gap wedge into the water for the third time and decided that I was done with this hole, with a generously scored 8 and never reaching the green.
Hole 18 was similar: sky ball driver and then a thin 8 iron into the drink. Good gap wedge from the drop and a 3 putt for a very generously scored 7.
On the first 14 holes, I was decently on track for a score of about 100 if I could perform as expected on the last 4 holes: 78 through 14, so I’d need a 5.5 for each hole to break 100. Oops.
Areas for improvement
My legs were super tired.
3-foot putts cost me 5 strokes. I had 37 putts and 42 putter strokes, total (that’s a decent sign?)
2. 5. 7. 8. 11.
The big issue was my inability to strike the ball well which cost me 18 strokes, if not more.
5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 9, 9, 15, 15, 15, 16, 16, 17, 17, 17, 17, 18
So short putts and ball striking it is. The inability to get out of trouble was caused by ball striking trouble because I would unsuccessfully get out of trouble and then get back into trouble because I never got out of trouble in the first place.
The short putts I missed were 100% from lack of focus on the short putts. Instead of making my routine, I … didn’t do my routine. I just walked up and whacked it, but not in the way that leads to success (in the zone and just easy tapping it in).
I would like to make at least 1 6-footer per round. Also need to improve from 3 feet: I’d like to get that to automatic.
However, I wasn’t super disappointed by the round. That’s been something I’ve been happy with: I know I played not the best but I could see the glimmers of hope there. Next time!
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