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.
It’s 6:43am Sunday the 4th of June. I tee off in about 2.5 hours for round two of the RCK Salt Lake City Amateur tournament. This is the tournament that’s most important to me each year. It’s an extremely well run tournament which is gross-only, and the format eliminates sandbaggers. The golf course, Bonneville, is always setup and manicured extremely well.
This season I’ve pretty much lost my iron game. I’ve been hitting sometimes as little as two greens in regulation for 18 holes, which is not where a supposed 3 handicap should be. Combine that with my short game struggles and it’s hard to score, though my putting is excellent. If I couldn’t putt I’d be shooting 95 instead of 85. I should be scoring 75, according to my handicap. I haven’t sniffed a mid-70’s round since last year.
So I came into yesterday with a small bit of hope and mostly low expectations. I started out less nervous than normal because of the low expectations. I kept it together on the front for eight holes with a couple of birdie chances that barely missed. Through eight holes I was +1 and began to think that I actually had it together. Then came the nerves.
The golf gods are funny like that. They allow you to have hope so they can crush it. My hope was crushed on the par-3 9th, rated as one of the toughest par-3’s in Utah. I pulled my 7-iron left and it hit the cart path, bouncing way up into deep fescue. I found 12 balls in that fescue, none of which were mine. My provisional tee shot missed the green and I ended up making a 6.
The back nine was a case of my typical round this year. Miss greens in regulation (missed 7 of 9), then struggle to get up and down to save par. The two holes I managed to hit in regulation were pars. My putting for the day was 1.78 per hole with no 3-putts. That’s a feat when they have the greens setup so bloody fast. But great putting can only go so far when you miss 12 of 18 greens in regulation and don’t chip well. I did make a couple of good chips like on 17, where my ball literally had a piece of sod stuck to it. I guess I chip better when my ball has gunk stuck to it.
On the back nine I started to have those thoughts like I did last year. The frustration and realization that playing to the level I desire may not happen again. It certainly won’t happen with my schedule of late, 27 holes of golf per week. When I was down to scratch I was playing 5x/week. That frustration and realization made me think that 2017 might be the last year I play golf.
Fist round score: 82.
Today I will give it my best once again. In A-Flight, handicaps 2-6, I can perhaps break into the prize money with a round in the low-mid 70’s. Haven’t done it in eight months, but that’s the goal.