Time for my yearly golf blogging about competing in the best amateur tournament in Utah, the Richard C. Kramer Salt Lake City Amateur. The tournament is a two day, 36-hole event at one of my home courses called Bonneville. Bonneville is well known for some of the best quality greens in Utah, which can take some serious reading skills and touch.
What makes this tournament so great? It is very well put together and the golf course is always set up brilliantly, like Utah’s version of the U.S. Open. Perhaps best of all, this is a gross-only event within flights. The flights are very small and tight, with the maximum handicap of the tournament being a 10. If you are a 16 handicap and want to compete, you can, but you come in as a 10 and play gross only. This setup completely eliminates sandbaggers or as I prefer to call them, cheaters.
This tournament is very important to me, and I spend the whole spring shaking off winter rust and trying to get my game in good enough shape to be competitive.
For a long time my goal in the RCK was to simply break into the money, meaning play well enough to win some prize money. That’s was when I was playing in the scratch flight against the best players in the state, including college scholarship players. I’m a decent amateur player at times, but my best round ever is a 68. I’m not going to beat the college players who will shoot two 67′s and hit their drivers 100 yards past me.
My handicap has gone up one point in the last couple of years, enough for me to move to the A flight in the tournament. That’s sort of good and bad. It is bad because I’m no longer in Champ flight, but good because I’m in the A flight (handicap 3-6) and can definitely make money if I play two okay rounds. The last couple of years I’ve managed well on the ledger.
This year is a strange one coming into this event. I normally hold myself to high expectations at this time, and that can add pressure to my psyche. This year I’m not doing that to myself. At this point in the season my driving is as good as it has been in years. Somehow I’ve gained some serious distance without losing any accuracy. I’m hitting it 20 yards longer than last year. After switching back to my Hogan irons I feel like my ball striking is much better as well. This spring I’ve added a fantastic Cobra hybrid to the bag which makes long shots of 220-250 much easier. A new 3-wood is also in play which is great (review soon). The short game has been improving and I’ve been practicing it quite a bit. All those positives lead me to feel good about my game at this point, but the scores on the scorecard don’t reflect it. That’s the kicker. Despite feeling good and solid ball striking, the lower scores and birdies haven’t shown up yet. That’s why I won’t pressure myself with high expectations.
Perhaps the birdies and lower scores will make their debut 2014 appearance this weekend.