I wish I had some great news to report from round two, but I can only write about the truth and the truth is that I just didn’t play all that well again. Before I start the hole by hole description, I have a confession to make. Well, it’s more of an admission than a confession..
Three weeks ago I decided to try out some different drivers. I had only ever hit Nike drivers since teeing one up for the first time mid-November 2011 and I wanted to see what other options were out there. I liked my Nike driver, but it seemed to make sense to me to not just blindly utilize one company, so I picked up a couple others to test out. I ended up liking the feel of one in particular (I’m just going to call it driver X) and decided to give driver X, along with 3-wood X and 3-hybrid X a shot. I knew this tournament was coming up, so I practiced with these three clubs for one solid week, took the week off to camp, and then practiced with these X clubs for another week before this tourney. The results? Well, I don’t want to blame the gear so I will first say that it is the operator that causes the ball to fly, not the stick. That said, I learned from my test-club test that I am sticking with my Nike gear and have already returned the three demo sticks.
With the three X clubs, I was getting a little more distance and there was a romance period of one great round, but my misses have gotten significantly more sporadic than they ever were before.
Honestly, I am not saying this to take the blame off of me. I could have played much better out there and didn’t. It was two rough rounds of demoralizing golf and for every good shot I hit I missed two. I want to be truthful in what was going on and explain what I brought to the show for this two-day tournament. This is all a learning experience and I was curious as to what other gear could potentially do for my game. Now I know that it’s not a new driver that I need, it’s to hit the range and work hard on the one that I have.
1. par 5: Pushed my drive to the left rough and the ball landed in a deep divot. I think I would be able to get a full club on it, so I decided to punch out. Next shot was 188 out and I knew it would be a tough pin placement so hit a 5-iron up to the left-side rough and chipped up to four feet. Knocked in the putt for par. EVEN
2. par 4: 3-wood pushed a little right but bounced over the fairway bunker into the morning thick rough. Was 138 out to an elevated green, but thought I might catch a flyer out of the rough so hit a PW to the front of the green. The ball spun back from the false fronted green to the front edge 40 feet from the pin. My first putt ended up 8 feet short, missed that one and tapped in for a bogey. ONE OVER
3. par 5: Pull hooked the drive deep right into the trees, it took all of us about 4 minutes to find the ball. Punched out with a 7-iron to 260 yards. I made a mental error here in trying to go for the green with a 3-wood. There was too much at risk and I should have laid up, but my golf mind was not awake yet so I tried to kill one down the fairway. It hooked and ended up in the right trees 140 yards out. I hit a 9-iron but failed to see a low lying branch as the shot was directly into the rising sun. The ball hit the branch and fell 50 yards from the green. Hit the green from 50 and then two-putted from 15 feet for a double. THREE OVER
4. par 3: Hit the green from 170 yards and made the 5-foot put for a birdie. TWO OVER
5. par 4: Hit a bunt drive on this short 360 yard par four that actually hit the fairway, this was my only real fairway hit of the day. Had 110 yards remaining and pushed a 52-degree wedge that took a hard left bounce on the green and ended up in a bunker. made a decent sand shot then holed the par putt from 8 feet. TWO OVER
6. par 4: Hooked a drive hard right into the trees. Didn’t have a shot at the green so punched out to 65 yards from the green and hit the approach shot on the right side of the green. Two-putted from 25 feet for a bogey. THREE OVER
7. par 3: Hit the green from 190 yards and then two putted from 20 feet. THREE OVER
8. par 4: Hooked a drive to what I thought was into the water, but the rules official found the ball lying on the edge of a pond. I had a small hole of a line to hit from and landed the ball on the fringe of the green. Two-putted from 25 feet for a par. THREE OVER
9. par 4: Pushed a drive hard left into the first trees, but got lucky it hit a tree and didn’t go OB. Found the ball behind a truck and punched it back onto the fairway. my next shot was 205 out and I decided to go for it over the water to save a stroke. It might not have been the right call, but it worked out for me and I hit the green on the line of the pin and ended up with a 20 foot downhill putt. Made it in two for a bogey. FOUR OVER
Shot a 40 on the front. Was scrambling like crazy from all the horrible tee shot places I had put myself in.
10. par 4: Hooked a 3-wood to the right where the trees blocked the green but decided to try and draw a ball around the trees from 160 yards and executed it well, landing the ball on the back of the green. Made it in two putts from 30 feet out for the par. FOUR OVER
11. par 3: Pulled the 4-hybrid a little into the green side bunker. Didn’t have much green to work with and tried to baby the ball out of the sand. It landed on the fringe and stuck there. Two putted from 10 feet for a bogey. FIVE OVER
12. par 4: Hit a decent drive, but it worked too much and ended up in thick rough with the line blocked by a tree. I punched out to 75 yards and then hit the green right on the line of the pin. I thought it was going to roll in for a birdie but just missed and kept on rolling to 15 feet out. I just missed the par putt and tapped in for bogey. SIX OVER
13. par 4: Hit, for me today, a decent drive to 160 out in the rough. Landed the next shot just short of the green and chipped on to 2 feet. Made the par putt. SIX OVER
14. par 5: The exact same thing as yesterday happened.. I pushed the tee shot into the water, took a drop by the pond and had to hit a 7-iron over the water and willow trees to get back to the fairway. From there, I had 210 out an instead of going for it and risking hitting another shot OB like yesterday, I decided to play it safe and lay up to 50 yards. Executed the layup and hit the 50 yarder how I wanted to, but the ball rolled much further right than I was hoping on the green. Had a 20 footer for bogey that I almost knocked in but it was downhill and missed and ended up 8 feet past the cup. Missed the comeback and made the third putt for a triple bogey. NINE OVER
15. par 4: Pulled the tee shot into the trees and had no line so punched out back to the fairway 65 yards out. The ball ended up on the short grass but directly against the long rough and I didn’t get a full club on my approach so it landed just short of the green in rough. Chipped on and made the 3-footer for bogey. TEN OVER
16. par 4: Long hole. Hit a solid drive but pushed it to the left rough where I was blocked by a tree. I had 180 yards left to a tough green and I could either try to slice a ball around the tree or attempt to go under it. I decided to go under and hit a decent 5-iron but it got caught in a bit of rough and didn’t roll out. Hit an approach from 40 yards to where I wanted but it caught the downslope and spun back to the front edge of the green. Had a tough uphill 30 foot double breaker and left if five feet left of the hole. Missed the short putt and tapped it in for a double. TWELVE OVER
17. par 3: I think I was deflated by this point. This hole was playing 140 over some water and it’s usually an easy par or even a birdie. I overcooked a 9-iron and the ball bounced on the side of the green and into the water. I took a drop and hit a 52-degree to 20 feet and two putted for a double. FOURTEEN OVER
18. par 4: pushed a drive into the trees, knocked out with a 7-iron to 80 yards and stuck the green 7 feet from the pin. Missed the downhill tap of a putt and then finished the round by hitting in the bogey putt. FIFTEEN OVER
That was the round. Slightly better than yesterday as I only had one triple and more pars, as well as one birdie, but it’s really hard to score on a tight tree-lined course when you only hit one fairway. Again, I take full responsibility and blame for missing all my tee shots and know that I have a lot of work to do with the long sticks. It is good to know, though, that it is the indian, not the arrow, causing the errors.
These tournaments provide a ton of insight into your strengths and weaknesses. It’s obvious to me that what I need to work on the most is exactly what I have worked on the least throughout The Dan Plan. The longer the stick, the less experience I have with it and the more erratic it is. A couple of days ago, my coach and I were talking about what to focus on this winter and we both agreed that tee shots will be a large part of my mechanics practice over the off season. It’s been ten months today since I first hit a driver and I have come a long way, but have a mountain of work ahead of me with that stick. Just like in Yosemite, it’s one step at a time.
However disappointing and demoralizing these two rounds were, they were priceless experiences and ultimately just steps in the right direction.
I just signed up for the Forest Hills Amateur, a two day tournament on September 22-23. Going to go back to my old driver and work hard with it for the next ten days. I’m glad there’s another tournament just down the street and can’t wait for another chance to compete!
UPDATE: Just got the results for the first two days. The leader is Bill Winters (who just won the CECC Men’s club championship a month ago) at +5 for two rounds. The cut was at +24, 165 for the combined days. I shot +35, 177 to place in 91st out of 104 players.