My tale of woe…
Playing a 9-hole course yesterday, one of the Turning Stone offerings. For the first seven holes I’m playing very well for me, bogeys except for a double on a long par 5 (the bogey putt lipped out), and after #7 I’m at 36, eight over. Definitely one of my best rounds thus far.
Next hole, #8: a par 3 about 170 yards long. There’s a thick wall of trees tight right all the way to and around the green, and a tall tree about 30 degrees off the left. This is 3 wood territory for me off the tee, almost into driver range. I tee up and jack a very clean hit–dead pull left into the tree. It hits with a resounding smack, so fast we didn’t see it fly off. After a bit of searching I find it, around 100 yards left of the tee box and a little closer to the pin. Now it’s a 120 shot, and nearly all of it is carry over a pond that’s now in play. My worst nightmare: a carry over water. At 120 yards this is 6/7 iron territory for me off the deck, and to be safe I pick 6. Two perfect practice swings, and then I take it for real and chunk it right into the pond. Sigh. I drop, and my fourth shot has the distance but I slice it into the trees off the right of the green. Now it’s sitting on a steep slope and a little down in the crud. Afraid of blading it off the other side of the green with this lie I’m too timid with the next shot and it only makes it halfway to the fringe. Shot number six is a delicate tap onto the green (which has a pretty good slope) and I two-putt it for a snowman. The only good shot of the hole was that first putt, a good long lag that left me a gimme to finish.
Last hole, #9. Number 1 handicap hole. It’s a par 5 just over 500 yards, dogleg right and for the final 2/3 the whole right side is water, which you’ll have to carry for your approach shot. The green is also a bit elevated with an aggressive slope back-to-front that will quickly drain you a good 20 yards off the front if you go off the front edge. Decent drive, about 170-180 yards and a bit left of center, but on the fairway. I allowed for more slice than I actually generated. Not a bad thing, lots of room for my fairway woods to slice and stay dry. Second shot, hit it way fat and it went maybe 50 yards. Third shot, still using 3 wood, and I clock it, well over 170 yards with only a bit of fade and it lands in a great approach position. Now I’m just inside 70 yards, angling back to the green (I went a bit past it but it’s tucked well right so not a bad thing) and only some of the carry is over water. So of course I manage to duff my gap wedge and plop it right into the drink. Drop, and now I’m roughly 60 yards out. Too far for sand wedge, too close for full gap wedge. I try to guesstimate how much to give the gap wedge and over-do it, sending the ball past the green, lying five. Now I have to chip onto the high side of that aggressive green. Of course I over-do it, the ball lands near the edge but still rolls and drops off the front and rolls some more. Ouch. I chip back up onto the green, a decent one, and manage to drain the putt. Another snowman.
Final tally: 54. That’s actually my goal for nine holes, double bogey average, but after the euphoria of the first seven holes going so well that craptacular finish was quite a let-down.