J and I were taking on D and JA up at Elk Creek in Carson, WA. They elected to play blue tees. I was good with that, though somewhat concerned as my game is really bad. My driver and 4h have deserted me, my pitch game is garbage. I like my 5i off the tee and anything down to about a 9i, though even those I tend to pull left. This could be ugly.
First hole, 329 yard par 4, J topped it just past the ladies tees. I considered the wind, took an aiming point left of the fairway figuring the wind would push the ball pretty far right. I then pulled it even further left but luckily it hit the side of the hill and bounced down into the rough just left of the fairway. J had an okay pitch, mine was a hair short but puttable from the fringe just short of the green. I read his line as he powered it past and managed to put mine within about an inch of going in. We took a par. Meanwhile, JA and D had gone short, short, then were on the bank above the hole. They got to about 10’ from there and 2-putted. Our par had us up two.
On the second hole, a 493 yard par 4, J hit it maybe about 150 down the middle. Far better than my wind-aided slice that bounced on cart path and carried out of bounds. He then shanked his second shot about 50 yards…still better than my sliced 4h that went even further into the woods than my tee shot. Then we both came up left of the green, and both chipped short of the green. Laying 4 just on fringe. Meanwhille Jim and Dave were in the sand right of the green in 2. Their out of the bunker was not spectactular, they then two-putted for a 5. Still, we are laying 4, just off green, a 12’ sidehill. they already have their stroke picked up in mind. Until J rolls his putt in to save our 5. A bogey we can live with.
Next up a 160 yard par 3. I yanked my 8i well left and a bit short. It was the better shot of the two, and D and JA were well back after a couple…questionable tee shots shall we say. They hit a beautiful approach to the top of the green, 45 yards away and above the hole on fast greens. I am thinking they will for sure 3 putt and possibly 4. I go first…and shank my 55 yard swing about 25 yards into the center of the sand. J puts his on the far side of the green. Playing ready golf, we go first and put it about 4’ from the cup. Our bogey will minimum tie the hole and likely pick up a stroke…until D shouts “Slow down” moments before his curling downhill slider plops into the cup from 45 feet out for the par.
So after three holes I am feeling terrible about my game. My handicap is up 1.5 points in a month. I have gone pulled drive, short 50 degree that was offline, Driver out of bounds, 4h out of bounds, 8 iron pulled left, 8 iron left and short, half swing wedge I chunked. A couple timely putts and nice balls by J have us about where we should be and only a miracle putt by D means they are down but one…but I need to play better!
On the the 493 yard par 5. I promptly hit the big ball before the little ball and have a short drive, roughly 186 yards. We are 307 out while Dave has slightly outdriven me. I then hit my 4h. I was aiming off to the right, hitting a 22.5 degree…I hit a line drive down the left that goes about 250 as it turns out. 2 terrible shots, but we are looking good to be on in three and maybe 2 putt. Then I stick a wedge to 4’ and drain it for a natural bird. That wedge was my first truly good shot of the day. 2 terrible played well and one great shot.
Of course, they just recognize the natural bird and after JA and D [ar the hole, they are down 4, losing a shot on a par. I realize I am playing very poorly. Although that 4h went a long way and played well…I missed the shot badly, just got lucky. I am pretty down on myself at this point.
Hole 5 is a dogleg right par 4, 392 yards. J hits the shot I planned to hit, banging it out to the 150 marker, avoiding the sand and water. I elect to blast my driver about 100 yards right of the fairway. Still, from 150 we get it to the green and 2-putt (JA and D struggle most the rest of the day, so with rare exceptions, no need to make it worse…suffice it to say J and I finished 6 ahead on the front).
Hole 6, 160 yard par 3, I hit the green with a 7i that landed almost exactly where I aimed, we two putted. Machines I tells ya…
335 yard par 4 left dogleg. I decide to try driver one last time. Nice slow takeaway, don’t accelerate on the downswing, go stand 70 yards from the green after best drive of the day. Put the pitch about 6’ right of the cup, another natural bird.
Don’t remember much of 8, but 9 is 499 yard downhill par 5. Road on right. I decide to start my ball left. By which I mean big pull that hits a tree 100 yards out…and J and D and JA all do likewise. We all four break out our Mulligans. J hits over those trees but well left. I swing pretty smooth, it stays right. I am worried, they all think it is great. We get down and I have tree issues, about 4’ inbounds. Nothing to do but punch out to the 150 which we do. Meanwhile, JA and Dave are put their next shots in the water and ob. From 150 I go 9i because of the downhill. And promptly think I launch it ob right. J thinks so too, his is short. We get there, I am just off the green to the right, a decent pitch. We get on in 4 and 2 putt for a double….and end the front 4 over.
I felt like all but maybe 3 holes I was really scuffling and with a shot here and there, J gave us just enough to have a comfortable 6 shot lead.
10 is 447 yards of uphill, tight fairway fury. On the tee just behind the blues was a red circle with a red dot in the center. We joked about “if you hit into the water (left of the tee alongside the tee box) you deserve to be penalized and drop there”. J promptly puts his into the water and so does JA making my slice across not just our fairway but the next one the best tee shot. I then launch my 4h about a mile but on a horrible line. J goes up the fairway we are on. I then hit towards the wrong flag. We are on in 4 and pull out a double bogey. And win the hole as they took a triple…
I forget what happened most of the way because we were still gaining ground. The next to last hole I really remember had sand at 260 and was a downhill sliding left dogleg where after the sand the fairway was blind. So I pulled 5i to take the sand out of play….and promptly hit it even with the sand but left side of the fairway.
Finally on 18 we all had our mulligans…and for J and I, our best shot was a 200 yard tee shot downhill. We both then chunked our chips about 50 yards while JA and Dave were just left of the green. We reached the front on our next and found a way to 2 putt. They were short with their chip and 2-putted.
So for the day, they one just one hole from us, tied a few and J and I finished with an 8 over 79 while they came in with an 89.
The ice cream was delicious.
Once my driver started working, which except 10 and 18 it really did back on 7, any chance they had really evaporated. I felt like the blues were a box deep for them but part of it too was D just getting back and not having golfed for a month and JA swinging out of his shoes and thus playing poorly.
J had some really great moments at just the right time. We seldom had good shots at the same time but when we needed to pull one out he did so, draining 3 or 4 key putts and hitting a couple chips and pitches that gave us looks, probably saving us 10-15 strokes. So well done, lot of fun and take the W.