Okay, okay: maybe if you’re playing a Tour-level course from the tips, and think you’re going to hit the clubhouse doing better than bogey average, you need those first 250-odd yards off the tee. How many of you really play that game?
I didn’t think so.
In my last blog post I talked about game management. Yesterday’s round drove the lesson home in style.
My driver woes are still with me. I got in a couple of nice whacks, but most of the time I still maintain I could have done better teeing it up with my pitching wedge. Yesterday’s Child was a combination of toppers and 90-degree slicerrific horror. Let me explain: I don’t slice. Most of the time I hit it either straight (maybe not straight where I was aiming, but still straight) or with a nice little draw; my mis-hits are hooks.
Except with the driver.
Don’t ask me to explain why that club, alone of the tools in my bag, still confounds me so. It just does. I stubbornly insist on dragging it out, hole after hole, trying something new each time in the hopes of alighting on “it,” the key change that will get my pumpkinhead-on-a-stick smacking the ball like it ought. I need some quality range time, preferably with “my” pro, but my lifestyle already has me time-squeezed getting in actual rounds before the short season ends (and trying to get my money’s worth out of my membership dues). It’ll come.
But, guess what? I really don’t need it. Why? I can be a demon of recovery.
Take a typical hole yesterday, a par 5, hard dogleg right, and a big pond guarding the green. I topped my driver shot (again) and spun it forward maybe 60 yards before the rough killed it. Did I sink into a miasma of shame and despair, forcing myself into the mindset where my next shot just had to make up lost distance?
I looked to the 150 marker. There it was, a very makable distance, and the spot from where I could make the green in regulation anyway–or in one over, which is my current goal when playing. No problem! Pressure eases off, I pick my go-to club for second shots out of the rough (4-iron), and boom. I was so relaxed, hit the ball so nicely, it made it inside the 100 marker. How can anyone be unhappy with that? Inside 100 in two on a par 5? That’s money where I come from. And I did it with a crappy tee shot. If you’re playing at home, I bounced my gap wedge off the back left of the green (the pond in front of me got into my head and I gave the approach shot a bit too many Cheerios), chipped back on, and two-putted for bogey. I will take a bogey any day!
All this really came together yesterday, and I’m tickled to report that, for the first time in my misbegotten golf “career,” I broke 100. I hit the clubhouse carding a solid 93, and I’ve never been happier.