Greetings from the Albuquerque Airport… pardon me… “Sunport.” I have just enough time before my flight to post a little video nugget from my trip to Black Mesa this week. Below is a clip from the resort/spa I stayed at here called Ojo Caliente. I’ll be doing a full review soon, but for now I hope you enjoy this little video.
Fans either love Phil Mickelson or hate him. Regardless of your preference in that department, I’m blogging to send my best wishes and positive karma to Amy Mickelson, who was just diagnosed with breast cancer.
Amy has undergone extensive tests and will undergo more. Major surgery will be happening soon. I wish her luck. I lost my Mother to another form of cancer and it hits me pretty hard when I hear about people being diagnosed with it.
Phil Mickelson has cancelled his PGA Tour schedule indefinitely.
The more I play Black Mesa the more I love it. This is a special golf course. I become more confident in my shots and where I want them to land or roll the more I play the course. I played probably the most solid nine holes of the year on the front today. I got up and down on #1 from a deep green side bunker. On #2, a short par-4, I used the contours to the right of the green to bounce my 100 yard approach shot to about three feet. But my putt didn’t drop as the speed was not as quick as I expected. That would be about the last bad putt I’d make for the whole day.
Above, the old squeeky windmill at Black Mesa. When the wind kicks up, the windmill plays a an eerie yet rhythmic tune. Normally I’d dislike a sound like this, but this tune almost hypnotizes me. How many millions of times has that wheel spun around? I need to find out if there’s been a name given to this windmill. If there hasn’t, I’m going to come up with an appropriate one….
On with the story…
When I got to the mega cool #4 hole I was still even par. #4 is the famous “dome” hole, where a cool sand dome guards the green left. I didn’t trust my yardage. It dictated a six iron. I hit five. Good choice. It ended up about eight feet below the pin. I drained the putt to reach -1. I played solid golf the rest of the front nine. My new and improving short game and some great putting helped me turn to the back nine at even par. I shot even on the front at Black Mesa. That is good. Could I hold it together for the difficult back nine?
I have shaky confidence in some holes which have kicked my butt every time I’ve played them, like the par-5 13th. Today I was cruising along playing well and 13 humbled me once again. I knew I couldn’t miss the green right or I’d have an impossible up and down from a very deep bunker. I missed right, 7. Ouch. I’m realizing how demanding this course is. You really can’t miss a single shot in the wrong place your you’ll have to make some incredible shots to save par. Usually errant shots will result in an “other” score. My two severely errant swings did result in double bogeys on the back.
Yesterday I melted down on the 15th, a beauty of a par three. I clanked my tee shot into the water and scored a double. I was wanting redemption today. With my good pal Eddie Peck, principal guy here at Black Mesa watching, I pulled a six iron left. The shot bounced off the contours left of the green and ran down to about five feet. I laughed and looked at Eddie and said, “I meant to do that.” Eddie laughed.
Eddie took off to watch the other groups so he didn’t see the putt, which I drained. The first thing he asked me upon the conclusion of my round was if I made that putt. I proudly told him that yes I’d drained the putt, and that despite having my golf ship taking on heavy water on the back nine, I paddled home with a 78. To me a 78 on this course is like shooting a 73 somewhere else.
Puye Cliff Dwellings
Following the round we visited the Puye cliff Pueblo Indian ruins, about 30 minutes from Black Mesa Golf Club. The Pueblo Indians had built an incredible set of dwellings on top of, and on the SIDE of, a cliff. I’ll post more about this fascinating part of the trip later, but here’s an image of our tour guide (right) telling us about the dwellings for now.
I’m too tired to continue writing, though I’d love to share the rest of this great day…
I don’t know what is up. I feel good physically. I’ve lost 20 pounds over the last couple of months and I’m looking like a younger “flat belly” player now. My back isn’t stiff at all. The swing “feels” good. I feel loose. Everything seems to be working and feeling good up until I make contact.
Tuesday I did something I haven’t done since somewhere around 2004. I shanked a shot. I handled it fairly well and didn’t get too bent out of shape.
I feel like I’m actually making solid contact but finding my concentration level is very low and I’m making poor decisions. I’m not focused.
Worst round of the year
Today I carded my worst score of the year and sent myself into an even more confused state than I already was in, which is hard to imagine. Somehow I managed to push on all my bets (won some lost some) which I can’t believe.
Game management? No. Course management? No. I’m in a state of “disaster management.”
Maybe I should just let it go
Perhaps I shouldn’t get too down about my bad rounds right now. I do seem to go through this phase a few times per year. Tomorrow is another day, and I’m golfing so it won’t be too bad. A report will follow.
I’m still recovering from my incredible journey which caused me to miss the entire TPC tournament last week. I have the tourney DVR’d so I’ll watch it if I get bored.
Can you see me? I should tee up a driver from this spot at Canyonlands with a 2000 foot drop. That would be one sure way of increasing my driving distance.
Last week I camped with my pop and my two youngest in southern Utah. The first night we were at a remote and desolate site between Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park. We visited Dead Horse and Canyonlands in the first 24 hours. The picture above is of me (can you see me?) standing atop a ledge at Canyonlands. There’s a 2000 foot drop below.
The rest of the trip we camped in Arches National Park, my favorite place on this planet. We hiked all over and saw the incredible land formations and some of the 2000 documented arches in the park. Arches has the highest concentration of natural bridges in the world and to be “documented” the arches must be three feet wide or bigger. I’ve reviewed Arches before and you can read that post here.
Below I’m standing in the single most breathtaking place I’ve ever visited, Delicate Arch. This is the arch you see on Utah’s license plates.
I’ve visited this incredible spot dozens of times. Every time I turn that last corner of the 1.5 mile hike straight uphill in the hot desert heat and see the arch, I’m speechless and breathless. I completely forget how tired I was and I’m filled with energy and humbled by the beauty of this place.
I only posted two images in here, but I shot 792 photos last week. That was clearly not enough so I’m going back in two weeks…