I live in the land of “The Greatest Snow on Earth,” the home of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Last year’s snowfall was massive and I had a fantastic time with my new skis enjoying the “pow pow.” But this year has been very different. High temperatures and very little snow. The skiing is pretty bad. But with the high temps the golf courses are open. If mother nature gives me snow, I ski. If she gives me green grass, I golf.
I played my first two rounds of 2018 this past weekend, 9-holes at River Oaks and 18 holes at Hidden Valley. I made birdie on my very first hole of 2018, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice. Despite there being no snow, it can still be well below freezing at times, so as you will see in the video below, the lakes on the course are frozen. That gave me a chance to play “ice skip it.” I had no idea the ball would still be spinning minutes after I hit it.
And below is a golf instructional video on how to get the ball off of an icy lake when it is too far to get with a golf club. You can thank me later.
Recently I moved. I’m still unboxing stuff in the new home. Most would agree, moving is hell. With the move and many other things going on in the non-golf-blog areas, I’ve not played much golf. I think I’ve logged 18 holes in about the last eight weeks, until today. Amazingly, thanks to awesome global warming, there’s no snow on the ground here in northern Utah. The temperatures were in the 60’s this Thanksgiving weekend, and I finally got a game together with my long time partner, and two fairly new and fierce opponents. It was an absolute blast.
Bonneville Golf Course Aerial Photo by Tony Korologos
I thought I’d be very rusty, but somehow found a good rhythm and swing. I hit 80% of my fairways, logged a couple of birdies, and shot 74. That’s my 2nd best round of a very rough year for my game. I had no idea that was coming, and like most would say, it could have been much better.
What made today particularly fun, other than golfing in shorts when normally I’d be skiing, was the match. My partner and I had gotten our wallets cleaned out by these two a few months ago. We needed revenge. Despite my birdie on the first hole, we found ourselves down three early, and finished the first nine down three. We cranked up the heat on our games and I played very well on the back. We won the back 4up which meant we also won the totals bet. It was a huge comeback for us.
Every shot, putt, chip, was intense and pressure packed during the match and it was so fun. I’ve missed that feeling of competing most of this season. It was great to get that back in what might be my last round of 2017. Historically the last round of the year is usually around the first week of December. By then it’s either too cold, or the courses are closed due to snow.
It was quite enjoyable to find some of my lost game today and play some good golf. If the snow does fly, it’s a good round to finish on for the season.
I witnessed a hole in one today. I had joined with a 3-some of gentlemen I’d never met on a very hot and muggy day where we were all sweating badly after lots of rain the day/night before.
On the 17th I watched David’s shot hit the downslope of the bunker that guards the par-3 green. The ball bounced toward the hole but I lost it in a shadow. It then reappeared and I swore I saw it go in. I told David, “I’m not sh*tting you I think that went in.” Sure enough, it did!
Last week I played the first what I would call “good golf” of the season. I had a 9-hole net match against a 14 on Monday. I had to give the guy six pops a side. After making an incredible up and down for par on the 9th to win the hole the match was all square and went to extra holes. I had to shoot even par on the nine to end up square. Yeah, a 14 LOL.
On 10 I had to par to extend again as my opponent made bogey with a pop. Then on the par4- 11th I was in trouble. In long grass blocked by trees. I tried to punch out but the long grass grabbed the club and the ball, which went only about 20 feet. With my opponent on the green I was left with a 3rd shot from 115 out of deep grass. I put a perfect swing on it and knocked it to 15 inches. Saved par to extend again.
On the par-5 12th I knocked a 4-iron on the green for my 2nd shot and had an eagle putt to win. I had reached the previous two par-5’s in two as well. Never had three eagle putts in a row on three par-5’s. I was too aggressive though and ran the eagle by. Then missed the birdie for the win. I ended up having to make a 3-foot knee-knocker for par to extend. Nice 3-putt LOL.
Finally on the par-4 13th I finished off the match by chip-putting in a birdie from some long grass right of the green. To beat this “14” I had to shoot -1 for 13 holes. On to the 2nd round of net.
From the 3rd hole on I was battling a major blister on my left heel from walking in these new Ecco shoes. That made things more difficult and painful.
Then on Sunday I played in 102F temperatures with a buddy. Shot a 38 on the front and then on the back had 3-birdies and 3-bogeys to shoot even on that side. 74. Best round of the year by 3-shots.
Last week’s combined holes between the 13 for the match and 18 on Sunday, 41. Total in relation to par, +1.
Whether I’m satisfied with my game isn’t necessarily related to numbers, it’s more related to the quality of shots and how I’m hitting it. But the numbers this past week did reflect the quality of play. This is the kind of golf that I can get satisfaction from, not hacking it around and shooting 84.
I also wonder if my recent better play is is partly due to resolution of some things in my personal life which were stressful? Or is it just that the game is coming around, or perhaps the gear change (below). Perhaps a combo of all of it.
Last week I used the combination of the Miura Small Blade irons and the Snell My Tour Ball. I’ve definitely lost distance off the tee with the Snell compared to a Bridgestone B330, but the rest of the game, irons and short game, seems to have benefitted quite a bit from the Snell ball.
Unfortunately I can’t play this week. Hope I can keep the momentum up with about a 10 day break.