Another week without a stats update, so we’re still waiting to see how much recent progress I’ve made.
On Saturday the only available tee times were later in the morning, which for my partners gets to be too hot to trot. I don’t prefer to play in the heat of a Texas afternoon, but when I feel like playing it doesn’t matter what the weather is.
Sunday storms rolled into the area and we had to cut our round short after four holes. I was just getting settled into my rhythm when the thunder started. It didn’t rain for another hour after that, but we were at the point of no return. After the fourth hole, we start to head to the furthest point away from the clubhouse with limited shelter other than a bathroom. When it comes to lightning, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
The pro gave us a rain check and since we’re frequent patrons, the money all flows back to them anyway.
My round started off with a birdie bang. I left a little too much meat on the bone from my tee shot, which requires me to hit a long iron as the fairway runs out on this dogleg.
With 163 yards left to the pin and an eagerness to get moving ahead of the incoming weather, I rushed my transition and bladed the 8i approach. Despite my disgruntled, “come on,” the ball rolled to the middle right portion of the green.
As my playing partners wandered the tall grass for their misplaced balls, I had a positive feeling about the 35-footer. The early dew slows the first few holes and with a slight downhill right-to-lefter, all I had to do was get it on track the first few feet with a decent wack.
The pace may have been a little much, but the flagstick saved me the embarrassment and dropped the ball into the foam noodle slice at the bottom of the cup (a tactic to prevent unnecessary contact points for golfers during the pandemic).
Optimism soared on the next tee box until my teed 3w found a water-filled bunker. A free drop into the rough (local rules for the conditions) still required me to lift a PW over some trees to a front pin position, precariously placed nearest a false front.
At 130 yards, distance was no issue. However my aggressive target line, flyer lie, and an unlucky downslope bounce put me 30 yards beyond the flag.
Even with a heavenly touch, the best I could hope for in getting up and down would be a 15-footer over a ridge (23% one-putt probability). Worst case I’d be looking at not even staying on the green either short, right, or long. The pitch was good enough. I probably left myself 18 feet and tucked my tail to the third tee box with a bogey.
The par 3 third looks more intimidating than it is. On average it plays about 140, with plenty of green between the front bunker and its back right partner. The water hazards play no concern unless you’re already in for a long day. Sunday the yardage played a little longer than usual at 147, offering me two choices: the 9i or the PW.
Going long is always tough to do, though my GPS said 140 to the dead center. As a stock number, it seemed better to just get to the middle of the green after my last dance with double-bogey danger.
A well-struck PW looked good all the way.
Slowly the walk to the green revealed I had ground to cover with my upcoming putt. Having already sunk one long birdie that morning, I smashed my Snell with the confidence of an imagined backboard behind the hole. The comebacker dropped, and I headed for the fourth still even.
Another tee shot where my distance gets me in more trouble than it’s worth, I took 4i off the box and found the center of the fairway 200 yards closer.
Laying up from there gave me too many options, so I defaulted to shortening the hole as much as possible. The 6i was too much and I found a fairway bunker at the final curve of the slight dogleg. Disregarding the local rules (hey I still need to practice from bunkers), I opted to play from the poor lie. What would have been a great greenside shot was no match for the 86 yards I had left.
Still out and wedge in hand, I proceeded to reverse the fat feeling with a thin bump and run over the green. Delicate little pitch and a “no doubt” 6-footer ended my four-hole round. +1 for the day.
Who knows what the rest of the morning would have played like. I seemed to have more control on my tee shots and approaches, so I would have expected a recent best. For now I’ll just have to keep the excitement up until this weekend.