In the midst of possibly the craziest round EVER, where I shoot +7 on par 3’s, have a double, a triple and several three putts… I shot 72. Yes, crazy. How can I be +7 on par-3’s and shoot 72? Fireworks baby.
I played the back nine first… I got to #3 (my 12th hole) at even par. I then chunk a horrible 5-iron into the lake on this par three. The air is cold and my right hand went completely numb due to the cold and the horrible contact. I hit my 3rd shot on the green, then 3-putt. It is nice to be even par, then get a triple bogey. Let me tell you.
So I get to #4, the hardest hole on the front. We have a cold two club headwind. I stripe a hybrid down the middle. I’m 171 to the pin. I have to pull my 5-iron, the same club I gagged into the lake 10 minutes earlier.
I turned to my pal Dave and said “oh man I have to hit this club again. Well I guess it has a chance to redeem itself…”
I hit a super solid high fade right at the flag. The shot looked good in the air and ended up looking pretty close to the hole. The green is just slightly elevated so it was hard to see the ball but we could make it out.
As we walked to the hole, about 75 yards short I was telling Dave that my shot looked close but might be short. We could see it and really couldn’t tell how close it was.
Then as we walked up the edge of the green and got a better look… no ball. Many shots which hit this green go long, but no ball over the green.
There was only one place the ball could be, in the hole. I turned my camera on and recorded some commentary as Dave walked up. His thumbs up signal let me know that yes, I just score a two on the hardest par-4 on the course, into a cold two-club wind.
We figured that ball had to be sitting on the edge of the cup for at least five minutes before it dropped. Good thing we walked this round and it took that long to get to the hole. If we rode in a cart, my eagle would have been a tap in birdie.
That is my shot of the week, and shot of the year.
Two years ago in the biggest tournament of the year, an emergency forced me to be awake until 5:30am. At 5:30am I had the choice to go to sleep for a an hour or two then get up and make my 8:00am tee time. Instead I chose to just stay up. In the toughest, most intense conditions I’d see all year with no sleep for two days, I shot a 73.
This weekend I was up all night Saturday night frying my brain, trying to debug the HOG server problems. I remember looking over at the clock to see that it said 5:00am. I did go to sleep a few minutes later, but woke up at 7:15. Two hours sleep, max.
I then went on to shoot a 74 in high winds.
So should I just party all night and get no sleep before every golf round then?
I’m trying to figure out why I play better when I’m so tired. I have to possible reasons, which could individually or in combined fashion contribute to my low scores.
The first reason is my level of relaxation. I’m not hyped up to play. I’m moving slower. My tempo is slower. I really think being tired helps slow my tempo down, which is good.
The second reason is simply not expecting to play well. I’m not mentally intense about the round. If I make a bogey or two I don’t really care because I’m not expecting to play my best anyway. I’m able to shake off bad shots or bad breaks in about three seconds. My nerves are non existent and can’t get in the way of low scores.
Applying it to a regular, fully rested round
After yesterday’s 74 I decided that for my next round or two I’m going to perform some mental experiments. I’m going to try and replicate my pace, tempo, demeanor on the course. I’m going to be mellow and swing nice and slow. If I hit a bad shot or catch a bad break I’m not going to sweat it.
I’ve seen this video floating around for a couple of days but I never watched it. I finally did and realized that it was shot at a course about 30 minutes from HOG world headquarters! The announcer, and host of this celebrity tournament is Mark Eaton. I’ve met Mark a couple of times on the golf course. He’s the 7 foot 4 inch tall former center for the Utah Jazz NBA team.
Today I played my Tuesday league with my friend Bryant from the previous post. He and I both didn’t have much of our games today. My swing was MIA and every shot was causing me pain in my golfer’s elbow. The farther off center my shots are, the more they hurt. My shots were very off so I was in quite a bit of pain mentally and physically.
We both decided by the back nine that we’d forget about our scores and just have fun. So I started trying to drive all the par-4’s and doing other odd things. I was 40 yards short of the green on #11 and used my putter. I made par!
By the 17th hole something finally clicked. I found my swing, which was missing for 16 holes. I three putted for par on the 17th, and made par on the very tough 470 yard par-4 we finished on…
Moral to the story, don’t fight it too much. Let it go. It will come back eventually.
I should have shelved my Hogan irons long ago. That and performed an exercism on my game. My MacGregors are working very well right now. The ball striking which has been missing all year and crushing my confidence, is back.
I’m finally feeling the ball compress when I hit iron shots. I’m finally seeing the ball launch nice and high, flying far. I’m finally hitting my shots the distances I’m accustomed to. I’m shaving the skins of golf balls with crisp strikes. It is no longer a mystery how far, usually short, my approach shots will go.
Finally, thank the golf gods, I’m seeing shots go AT the pin. For a while I was just hoping to hit a green.
It is too late for me to compete in much here except my league, which goes to the end of October. All the major local tournaments are over and the season will be winding down in a couple of months here, when the snow flies. So my A game missed out on the major tournaments here. But I finally feel like I can hit a golf shot. I can’t express what a relief that is. I’ve been close to hanging up the sticks until next year. Close.