I want to walk through today’s round. It wasn’t a particularly good or bad one, but there were some positive aspects to it and at least one lesson learned. I won’t do these walk throughs often as I have a feeling they aren’t that exciting, but am thinking about doing them once a month now that I’m actually playing with all the clubs.
For this round, I went out to Cartersville Country Club and met an employee and a guy who is trying to make it through the mini-tours this year with his goal being getting up to Nationwide and the PGA in the near future. I hadn’t ever played with either of these guys but had seen the mini-tour man hitting balls on the range so knew he could play; had also heard he was a stick from a couple other guys and was interested in watching his game.
Before the round started, I decided that I wanted to shoot the low score for the group. I knew I would have to be on my game, but if I took it one hole at a time it’s very possible to go low. I wasn’t nervous, but wanted to play some good golf.
Hole 1: 415 yard par 4 with a dogleg left. I hit my tee shot solid and wanted a small cut but it went straight a bit long through the fairway into the trees. My second shot was 150 with a window of about 6 feet between two trees and a branch hanging down to ten feet from the ground. My only chance was to punch it up so I hit a low seven that nearly made the green but plugged just short in the soaking wet muddy fringe (it rained a good bit a yesterday morning and the course was still soft from it.) I chipped up from there to 6 feet from the hole and just missed the putt for a bogey on the hole. For the life of me I cannot figure out this new mallet putter, but will give it one more week before making a final judgement.
Hole 2: 395 yard par 4 with a dogleg right. Popped up my drive a bit bit got it down the middle of the fairway. Second shot was from 145 and stuck the green with a little 8-iron then two-putted a downhill 15-footer.
Hole 3: 160 yard par 3 with front and rear bunkers. Hit the back of the green with a cut 6-iron and then had two putts from 30 feet.
Hole 4: 403 yard par 4 down hill. Pulled the drive right of the fairway in the rough and had a tree between me and the green 150 yards away. I tried to draw a 7-iron around the tree but cooked it a little and ended up on the right side 10 feet off the green. Chipped on and the ball sped up down the hill ending about 8 feet from the hole. 2-putted for a bogey.
Hole 5: 190 yard par 3 with a slightly elevated green. Hit a 4-iron just left of the green into a sand trap. Got out of the trap and then knocked in a 3-footer for par.
Hole 6: 535 yard par 5 with a slight left dogleg. I pulled my drive right again into the woods a little. Had a tiny window to punch out of so hit a 7-iron and made the out onto the fairway. hit a 125 yard PW onto the green and then 2-putted from within 20 feet. At this point I was 2 over for the first six holes.
Hole 7: 428 yard par 4 that is downhill then back uphill. This is a tricky little hole as the tee box is way back for the blacks and if you push or pull the ball even a bit it can hit the trees on either side. I pushed it a lot but luckily didn’t hit a tree, but my shot ended way left behind a tree and the only shot I had was to knock it back to the fairway. I hit it to the fairway and then had 180 yards uphill to the hole, so pulled out a crisp 4-iron that landed 15 feet from the hole. Again, two-putted. Nothing dropped today, haven’t found the mojo with this mallet. Got a bogey on the hole.
Hole 8: 390 yard par 4 with a big dogleg left. Hit a high cutting drive that went left and landed 130 yards from the hole with a large tree in the way. I hit a 9-iron as high as I could get it just over the top of the tree that landed within 20 feet of the cup. 2-putted for par.
Hole 9: 540 yard par 5 that turns almost 90 degrees right with a two-club hill on the last 150 yards. Pushed a drive far left then hit a 3-wood about 230 yards to the middle of the hill. Was 110 out but had to club up for the height so hit a PW to the green. This time I actually made the putt, sinking one from 30 feet to make my score for the front nine a 38. I was feeling good about my game. Perhaps too good. I knew I needed to focus on the next shot, but even without looking at the card I could tell I was on track for my first sub-80 round. Time to focus, not time to score track..
Hole 10: 340 yard par 4 down a large hill but with trees between the tee and the green. This one is drive-able if the weather is right and you can hit it that far, but from these tees I can’t get it there yet. I hit a decent drive and then had a 75-yard pitch to the flag. Right here I had my one large mental error of the round. Standing over this ball I started thinking about playing safe and score and instead of hitting an easy 75 yard shot I tensed up and left the ball on the front fringe with a tough uphill breaking putt. The greens had been decently quick all day and I hit a putt I thought was right but it ended up 10 feet short. Missed the second for a three-putt bogey on an easy hole. I chalk this one up to a bad brain.
Hole 11: 530 yard par 5 with water along the right hand side. Hit a good drive to the middle of the fairway with 270 yards left to the green. I wanted to hit an easy 5-iron so that I had 100 yards left (my number for a good 52-degree wedge) but the club slipped in my hand and I ended up pushing it far left behind the trees. From here I had 175 left without a shot except for a huge slice around the trees. I hit a 3-hybrid with what felt like a 3/4 swing and a huge cut on it. The shot sliced a bit much and ended up in the bunkers on the left. I punched out of the wet sand and ended up 12 feet from the hole. On a day like today, a 2-putt was inevitable. Got the bogey and moved on.
Hole 12: 370 yard par 4 with a 90 degree left turn and water 240 yards in front of the tees. Hit a 5-wood to my spot. The ball was 160 yards out but the lie was on a hill well over my shoes. I hit a 6-iron, but didn’t play the lie and ended up drawing it right of the green on a huge downslope hanging inches from the water. Didn’t have much of a stance and hit a somewhat sloppy PW onto the green but it didn’t roll out at all and left me with a double breaking downhill 60 foot putt. Didn’t get it close and ended up three-putting for a double bogey.
Hole 13: 210 yard par 3. Pushed a 5-wood to the rough on the left of the green then chipped on to 7 feet but 2-putted for a bogey.
Hole 14: 405 yard par 4 over a hill and right dogleg. Pushed a booming drive left to the next fairway that bounced off the cart path to the top of a hill in the middle of the 15th hole’s fairway. I had 185 to the hole but no clear view except for a large cut so hit the 3-hybrid and the ball did exactly what I was hoping it would, although ended up just short on the fringe. Hit a chip to five feet but missed the putt yet again. At this point I was seriously considering putting with my PW, this putter is not making a friend today. Also, I was now 8 over par for the round.
Hole 15: 430 yard par 4, this is the number one handicap hole for the course, although I’m not sure why. You need to drive the ball right on this hole, something that is seemingly not in my vocabulary. I pushed it left and ended up 180 yards from the hole behind a tree with a large cut being my only shot. It was basically the exact same shot as I hit on the previous hole so I took out the 3-hybrid and gave it another smack. Caught the ball a bit too well and it cut but went long and ended up 10 feet beyond the green in the rough. The ball was on a bald spot sitting on top of some mud so decided to chip it up with a short iron instead of a lofted wedge, but hit it a bit too hard and the green was sloping away from me so the ball just rolled out for ages. I 2-putted from about 30 feet to bogey the hole.
Hole 16: 190 yard par 3 over water to a slightly elevated green. Hit a 4-iron, but, you guessed it, pushed it to the left side about 5 feet from the green. Made an unremarkable chip to about 10 feet away and missed the putt for a bogey on the hole.
Hole 17: 415 yard par 4 with a large right turn. Determined not to push the ball I hit a pull-hook into some trees. Luckily I had a clear shot at the green and was just 160 yards out so hit a 6 iron a bit fat and ended up a hair shy. Chipped on but the ball got away from me a bit and I ended up with a 20 foot downhill putt. Missed it, but made the come-back for bogey. I had not gotten a single par on the backside up to this point. It was a shocking contrast to the front nine I had scored just a bit earlier in the day. That’s golf.
Hole 18: 525 yard par 5. Hit a solid drive and had 260 yards remaining. Figured I should just go for it and tried to hit a blast of a 3-wood, but ended up topping the ball and it ran up just 50 yards. With 210 left I smacked a 5-wood to the fringe, chipped up to 2 feet and actually made the putt. My first par of the backside put me at 83 for the round. I played pretty well, but didn’t capitalize on many opportunities.
We tallied the scores up and at the end I tied the guy from California for low round of the day. He had a really tough round for him and nothing seemed to work and I played solid for me, and in the end that’s what evened us out. I was a little frustrated with my back 9 score and there was plenty of light left in the day so I went out and played the back again. Shot a 40 this time with far fewer pushed tee shots as I figured out I my wrist had been cupping a bit earlier. Live and learn.