This year in golf (so far)2015 as of 9/22/15

Until this year I have never played much golf. 4, 5 rounds a year, sometimes less, rarely ever as many as 10 and even then only 1 or 2 would be for 18.
This year the wife and I talked about it, I wanted to get "not horribly bad, maybe respectable" at golf. She okayed me getting fitted for clubs, lessons, and getting March through October unlimited golf at a local retirement community track.  it is short, par 34 (should be 33 or 32, really). The challenge comes from if you miss a fairway you probably hit a house and/or are ob but for a hackmaster like myself...fine course.

My goal for the year was pretty modest. A round under 40 for 9. I generally shot in the mid-40s both there and at "real" golf courses. Some forays into the mid-50s and occasionally when everything was working right maybe a 42 or 43. 1 41. 

Early in the year, before the club fitting, I had a so-so round going...until I finished birdie-eagle when i chipped in on 9 for a 2. Later in the year I would get a second eage, so that was exciting.

As the lessons started to take hold I was struggling. It was a complete swing change from outside in, playing for a slice, to trying to hit it straight and attempting a draw. I would have a couple low 40s. I would have a 55. My scores were similar...but the WAY I was getting them was different. Now it often was a couple duffed chips around the green after getting close in 2. I could see the improvement even if the scores did not show it.

Then the magical day came where it all came together, I had a 35 going into 9. Drive down the middle. Wedge to the green. lag putt close. I was standing over a 4' par putt for a 39...of course I finished with a 41, could that part of the story end any different? But I was encouraged. I had a legit shot at it. Visible improvement.

I went to my favorite course, Wildwood, played 18 and shot a legit 84. I had never done better than an 89 on ANY course before. That was exciting. My driver was 33 yards longer than my average at the time. 

Came back to King City. I was working hard, practicing my chipping and putting at Red tail, hitting the driving range between lessons...I changed my chipping grip, my chipping approach, my pitching approach. I read Dave Pelz short-game Bible borrowed from the library. I went out and bought it, developed the 1/4, 1/2, 2/3 swings. i bought a 60 degree wedge to add to my PW, SW and AW. My short game got better.

Played some "real courses" 2-man best ball with my friend John against Dave and Jim.

Broke 40 with a 38. And again with a 39. Later I shot a 44/36 on the King City. Then I melted down. For a month.

My driver went wild. My 4h went wilder. My 3w was unhittable. I took to teeing off with a 6 iron, sometimes a 7 iron just to keep the ball in play. I met Tequila4Kapp and YetiLooper and came to enjoy the THP style round. 

Then the game started to come back. I broke 40 a couple more times. And then came perhaps my favorite round ever. On the front nine I hit 7 greens in regulation. I made one birdie putt. I shot a 40 that was my fault for melting down on 9 and pulling a double bogey. On the back after 4 holes I had hit zero GIR but 4 1-putts had me at par. I texted a brag about that bizarre stat to Tequila and Yeti, promptly took a double. BUT...

IMy mental game is stronger. I 1-put par on 6. I 1-put birdie on 7. 3-putt double on 8. 2-putt par on 9. I shot a 36. 

So for the front I was playing really well as hitting the green but not close enough to birdie. On the back I was missing the green but chipping close.

Actual, real, live example of the improvement in my game year over year.

And this time instead of reverting to my bad ways as I did last time I had some success, this time I shot a 42 for 9, then tonight a 42-38. I am experiencing sustained success.

Oh, I know the bad swings will come. I sliced a 6 iron on 5 tonight that had me "fore-tee box" screaming. I yanked a drive left that only stayed in bounds when it bounced off not one but 2 houses and found its way to the rough from which a 7-iron found the sand which I barely got out of. I am not a "good" golfer and neither I nor my trending handicap claim that I am.

but I can visibly see the improvement. At this end of the year if I land next to sand or water it does not bother me because i have the capability to avoid the trouble most of the time and, should I hit the sand, I get out more often than not in decent shape to save bogey instead of launching it 100 yards past the green and looking at snowman or worse.

I credit many things. The fitted clubs have been a wonder to behold. My ball flight is much better. For the first time in my life I am getting a really high ball flight that stops the ball on the green more and more frequently. I hit straighter more often and longer. I have a wider array of shots to select from and am gaining confidence in them all.

I credit Matt, my instructor, for much of the improvement in my short game and Pelz' principles for more, and honestly...I have worked hard at practicing what Matt has taught, spending hours hitting thousands of shots on the practice range. 

Coming down to the end of the paying season, golf is a much different game for me than it was at the beginning of the year. My skills are better and, while I will never be a scratch golfer, and probably not a mid-teen much less scratch handicapper (per the Grint I have gone from I think 32 or so at beginning of the year to 23.5 per most recent update), I don't feel like I want to run hide at corporate outings or anything like that. I have met some really cool people, had a ton of fun and even grown to the place where I can still tell you I have had precisely 3 eagles in my life (2 this year), I have had enough birdies they stop being a life-changing event...

Tomorrow I hop on a plane for Flagstaff and am taking my clubs, something i never would have done before because I would have wanted to hide my lack of skill from random strangers and would not enjoy rounds. Instead, so far this year I have played in Washington, Oregon, and California and have plans to play in Arizona. That alone is a sea change.

I think it has been a successful year. I know this is of little interest to most people but I just wanted to remember it and this little post might help with that. thanks for listening and hey..lets play 18


Rounds 36,37

Fresh off my near miss, I went a few days between chances to play. I had a double lesson, spent some time working on chipping.

Mostly I was working on air time v roll time, I carefully paced it off, marked down in my book how every club from 6 iron through 55 degree went...then left the book by the green I was practicing at. Oops.

So nearly a week after my good play and just a day after my racquetballing, I headed out. Fir-Gir-par. Should have had the birdie, missed about a 5'er that just lipped out.  Then I shanked right behind trees, no view of the green, somehow managed to roll around an elecrical box and get just onto the green, a 2-putt bogey. I feel like I am playing well.

I feel wrong as I promptly hook the 4h left over the houses, then hit a nice drive to 40' from the green. Then I chip twice to 5 yards from the green...and chip that in. Hmm. a zero putt 6...

then my 7 wood gets loose. I think the first may be gone, hit a provisional...left over houses. If you have seen that hole you know how bad that is. Then right over the clubhouse again. I give up, walk up...and find my first one behind and under a tree. I manufacture a shot to fairway center, get on in 3, in in 6. 2 lost balls that did not matter...a big score that did.

And so forth until I par 7 and 8, then get all sorts of loose on 9. A 46 going out. Not good.

I then go way right with the 4H. I am struggling with it today. I beautiful 7 iron gives me a chance at a scramble, but a poor chip and missed putt lead to a bogey. Then I bogey 11. And 12 (Fir-Gir Bogey :-( ), and 13.

The 167 yard, tree lined par 3 I decide to play my 7 iron. If I had gotten any roll I might have made an ace because I stuck it 3' short dead on line for the pin, it bounced about 2" according to the ballmark. birdie. Nice!

Bit of a wait, got joined by Jennifer, very nice lady who was struggling a bit.

I hit a fantastic drive but had tree issues. Tried draw around it but hit it straight, clipped a limb. Shorted 2 chips, then went long...a 7. ouch.

Then went way right with the 4H, landing 150 from green well right, just inbounds. Stuck the 8 iron just beyond the cup and got a birdie. 2 birdies in one is now a good round.
Good thing I decided that because I backed it up with sticking 2 4 H ob, switching to my driver, going 240 down left side, taking a 9.

And then driver ob right, long right but right of 1, bad chips, another 9 for a 49.

95 for the day but I don't care...two birdies.


Round 35: Made IT! except, not really...

I started off killing it. Hole 1 was a Fir-Gir-Par. Textbook with my 4 Hybrid being a solid 260ish yards, my 10ish yard chip leaving me a long makeable putt I did not feel bad about missing, and the decent leave letting me par it.

On 2 I was a bit right and went beyond the far side with my mis-chip. But then a nice lag from the fringe lipped out and I tapped in for bogey from less than a foot.

On 3 I put the ball just off the left fringe with the drive. A poor chip left lots of work and the frist putt was well short but I rolled in the longish second for a par. A second Fir-Gir-Par.

Next on the 196 yard par 3 I had to wait for a father-daughter group. She was maybe 5 or 6 and they were playing SUPER slow. Anyway I was pin high about 10 yards right of the green. Of course I could not stick the chip. I still should have made the putt but lipped it out. Still a bogey.

Then the famous 167 yard par 3. I actually mishit the tee shot, taking ground prior to the tee. perhaps for the best as I was pin high left of the green maybe 19 yards. I then chipped really well for a change, reading the green well and leaving a very makeable putt which I then made for par.

So I started this round par-bogey-par-bogey-par. And for those paying attention, I finished the last 4 holes of my last round par-birdie-par-bogey. So over the last 9 holes I have shot a 2-over 36 which is pretty spectacular for me. Now I just need to finish strong.

I then top my drive 5 yards past the red tees. I follow up by topping my 7 wood, hitting the tree in center of the fairway and getting a break that ricochets it into the center of the fairway 56 yards from the green. Nothing i cannot make worse by picking my 55 degree clean, ball flies OB. Drop for 5, this one lands front fringe. On in 6. Leave the first putt 6' short but hit that. Yay, one decent shot on the hole for a snowman. I just scored as many as any two prior holes...

Then the tee shot is topped again, barely scuttling past the red tees. Then I launch it ob, drop, etc...lets skip to the end. After that great start I finish 8-8-5-7. 28 and 19 is a 47..."only" 6 shots worse. But they were a painful 6...


Round 34: So close!

My goal is to break 40. I did it once many years ago at Gearhart. With a 29. There is some question in my mind if I really did it. Naturally I would rather do it on a par 36, but I will take what i can get.

Today went out, nobody ahead of me, took 2 practice hits with 8 iron and stepped up to the whites at King City. My 4 Hybrid was pure, with that right to left ball movement leaving me about 45 yards from the green. A nice soft 55 degree to about 8 foot, a 2-putt. Starting with a par is always nice. A Fir-Gir-Par is nice too.

The 178 yard par 3 I am generally right. My 7 wood was pin high just off the green about 5 yards right. I tried the wrist hinge but much too much force, went off green on far side...when pin was right next to where I went wide right. This time I put it about 4' away and 1-putted for bogey. Would have preferred the par I should have scored...but that is a shot I struggle with.

Despite there having been nobody ahead of me when I first arrived...changed clothes...took a couple practice swings...played two holes...I was now waiting on people. Uh oh.

On to the 249 par 4. My drive was about 200 yards, slightly left edge of fairway. I went back to the 55 degree but picked it clean. It ended up in the 4th hole tee box across the street I later discovered. Drop, put it on front edge of green, 2-putt for a 6. Oops. One swing cost 2 strokes. is the encouraging part. I have that 45 yard shot in my bag. It is reasonable to think I can and should routinely par or even birdie this hole.

Now for the par 3 178 yarder. My 7 wood came out again and was slightly right and short. I then overhit the green, my chip back left me a 4ish footer which I hit for the bogey. Again...poor close-in work meant what should have been a scramble par was a bogey. But it is CLOSE.

Now the 167 yard par 3 with trees steady right and interspersed left. I took my 6 iron....and would have hit the houses behind the green because I CRUSHED it. Now I had to come 20 yards back to the green under a limb. I left it short, then was too far from the pin from just off the fringe. A 2-putt and my 2nd double of the day. I did not feel like I was playing awful...but I was not playing well, either. On my way to a forgettable round.

My troubling 277 yard par 4. I have played it much better with the draw. I hammered the drive, but clipped the last tree branch, losing probably 10-15 yards. Still, I was 75 yards from the green, left side of fairway and clear shot at it. A nice smooth 50 degree put me pin high on right-center of green. I left the first putt 5' short but rolled the second in for a par.; Hey, a second FIR-GIR-Par. Nice!

Now the par 4 that masquerades as a 5. My drive I was all tense on the swing and was short and left. I was maybe 165 from the green, left of fairway, tree issue. Worse, the 2 guys in front of me spent several minutes practicing chips from just off the green while I stewed over my shot. I was ready to hit into them when they finally moved on. I pulled the 7 iron and tried a deliberate draw. It worked, sort of...I was beyond the green 5 or 10 yards after hitting the back edge with a beautiful draw. this time I left the chip about 4' from the cup and 1-putted for the birdie*. yeah, it is a par on most courses...I will count it as a birdie. And on this course, that is a second consecutive FIR-GIR, topped by a BIR.

On the 284 yard 8 I hit a nice draw that left me about 75 yards off the green. My 50 degree put me pin high right side of the green. Another putt left short4ish feet but I made that for a third consecutive FIR-GIR-Par or better. Wow!

On the 292 yard par 4 I got under it a little bit but still put it dead center fairway with the  4 hybrid. This time the 50 degree was about 4 yards short. But a nice chip left me a very makeable 3' putt to A) deliver a 4th consecutive FIR-GIR-Par+ and B) break 40.

naturally I got in my own head, missed it, frustrated missed the next shot and 3-putted to end with a 41.

Still the best front I have had and I now know I am capable of doing it. I was almost there.

Then I rushed my drive and pushed it way right...right of the 1st fairway, in fact. A 7-iron landed right of the green but pin high. Unfortunately a poor chip was followed by a 3-putt. The sadness of the missed 41 actually helped me start a meltdown.

The 178 yard par 3 saw my 7 wood go high, straight...and long. Again a low limb meant 6 iron chip, but short, 3 to get on, 1 to get in. Bogey, not horrible. Now waiting on a twosome.

I outdid the first time I played the 249 hole, landing about 35 yards from the green. Confident, I took the 55 degree, stepped up...and totally chunked it about 10 yards. I started thinking about going to the Avengers II< Age of Ultron. I got barely on the front frnge with the next chip and 2-putted for a bogey. Not horrible...but could have been so much better!

It started sprinkling on me about this time.

The 196 yard par 3 saw my 7 wood land short this time, though not horribly so. I hit a nice chip and was a couple feet from the putt. I rushed it a bit to get out of rain and...missed the gimme. Another putt but what should have been a par was a bogey.

It continued to rain, I was waiting on the other guys...I waled off and went to the Avengers.

So close to breaking 40. I can do it this year!

Rounds 30-33

Played 18, shot a 97. Not good but birdied the last, had 3 pars and a birdie on 9. Drive was mid-length and left. With ball below my feet and tree sort of in way, took it from 75 yards to 4 feet and made the birdie putt to end the round.
Shot a 42, had a birdie on hole 3, par on 5 and 9. that was back to back rounds with a birdie.
Shot a 49 with pars on 3 and 8.


Rounds 26, 27, 28 and 29

Sis was in town so no r-ball Sunday. Monday went out and played. Nobody in front of me and I was flying. I blistered through the front with 2 pars, a double, the rest bogeys. Only 16 putts. I was playing well. The back started even better and through hole 14 I was on fire, coming off 3 pars in 4 holes.

Then I caught up to some ladies. who were stuck behind some ladies. Who were behind another group. 15 minutes later when i took my next shot there were people behind me. They did not want to join. I promptly put the tee shot ob right, my first penalty of the day I believe. Laying 3 off the tee, I can still save the hole. But the next tee shot was same place. Laying 5 off the tee. next shot almost as bad but bounced inbounds, went ob, hit a bush and bounced back just in bounds. But now I am 160 from the green and need a pitching wedge to get over some trees. So I have to lay up on my 6th shot. Yeah, I took a 9. No rhythm to my game. I missed a makeable parr putt on 18 but still finished with a 46-42.

Tuesday I destroyed poor Tim in 3 games of singles, won 2 cutthroat against he and David, started messing around then could not catch up and David won one, then I won the last cutthroat and a couple more singles games with Tim.

Thursday went back to King City. Got there and ready to swing by 3:45. Teed off at 4;10. On the bright side I got lots of putting practice and had a few swings with the 8 iron in their little net area. The shots were not hitting the net but i did not think too much of it.

Then I blasted my first tee shot in a massive hook ob. Then I dribbled a grounder out to the 150 yard marker...and that would be how it went.

It was taking 15 minutes per hole at least for the group ahead of me and I could not get into a groove. I could not figure out my swing either. I was hitting laser ground balls with my 55 degree wedge. I was hitting ground balls and hooks with my 7 wood, 4 hybrid, and everything else.

On the rather soft 249 par 4 I went ob, dribbler, dribbler, missed pitch, etc and had an 8. On 6 I dribbled it short, left behind trees. My pitch across was too far. My next shot hit a tree, never found it, drop, get on, 5-putt...or something. Honestly I was defeated by then, did not bother lining up putts, was missing 3' by 5', just whacking it, I think I actually just picked it up at some point.For handicap purposes the hole was an 8 but I scored it a ten.

Snapped my next drive left over the houses. Ended up with a 7. That is 17 shots in 2 holes...not good.

And then just like that I got my swing back. 4 hybrid to the 100 yard mark, pitching wedge to the green, putt to four feet, par, except...outside of the 5-putt hole where I essentially was discouraged and not trying, my first 3-putt of the day.

But 9 was better. Nice drive, 100 yard pitch to green, just missed tough birdie putt, par. Nice finish to the front.

5 pars, 2 bogeys on the back for a 43 and a 95 overall.

Oddity; both Monday and Wednesday I had 5 pars in 18 holes. yet I added 7 shots in the second round due to blowups. Weird game.


4/18/15: Vernonia, king City Round 25

Got together with Kristy, Patrick, Nick and JJ in Vernonia. I got there early and worked on a putting maneuver used by Justin Spieth where you look at the hole, then move your hands forward to start the putting motion. It was working well.

It did not start well as i started the ball right and hit a tree. Rather than punch out I tried to go around but the ball hit a tree and died. And again...anyway...

then on the back it was more of the same. Hit a much better drive but kind of lost sight of it, by the time we got down there I never did find it. I think I took like a 6 and 7.

Hole 2/11 should play well for my fade. I powdered the first drive but a bit too much bend. I would find it on the back nine but on front we thought it was in the water about 230 yards out. Drop, put it close...on the back I snap-hooked the drive and from 150 out could not put fade on it, decent chip but missed makeable putt and bogeyed it.

Hole 3/12

Yes, this is carved into a stump on the left side of the fairway...

This one has a tight fairway but is playable...until you get to the green and it is all over the place and heavily slanted. A missed downhill 2' putt just became an 8 yard chip as two people discovered. I had okay work on the front and a killer drive on the back. In fact, on the back I was 100 yards out and used the pitching wedge stroke I worked on with Matt Bryda, sticking it about 6' above and left of the hole. However, that meant I was realistically in danger of a double even with the fir-gir. But I made a decent lag with the first and just rolled in the second downhill sidehill putt for a par on arguably the toughest hole on the course.

Hole 4/13
115 yard par three. Tree short right, sand traps both sides.
on the front I found the left trap. It took me three tries to get out of the gravel. The less said the better. On the back I was 2" short of the right bunker. But it was BURIED in deep rough. I think I bogeyed it maybe?

Hole 5/14 has a tight range. Trees left and right off the box but then it opens up. I crushed my drive down the left side. Unbelievably we never found the ball so i had to drop. My hook did not hook on either the front or back. Drive on the back stayed right, some other guys picked up my ball so I had to drop. I did hit a nice 220 yard 4 hybrid to the right side of the green, a nice 55 degree over the sand to a makeable putt range so that was something.

Hole 6/14

Should be an easy one but I struggled all day. but this is fun:the bear carved into a stump.

Hole 7/15
This little prize is a beast. The water on the right is further protected by a ring of trees. The left is all trees and steep embankment. So you have a narrow opening to hit through and need a slight draw. I was pin high but right on the front. On the back I hit it straight and way long, then hit a tree on my first attempt, finally getting on in FOUR. It might be the only hole I played better on the front than the back...

Hole 8/17
If not for the dogleg I would have been going driver. But it was dogleg. No driver. No good on the front, though on the back I 1-putted for par.

Hole 9/18

On the front I pulled the driver for the first time all day. On the bright side I hit it about 260. On the dark side I was playing from the 8th fairway and landed short on my second shot, then took i think a bogey for a 52.

On the back I went further less right and less wrong, scrambled a bit and ended with eh.

On the back I ended up at 48. So 100 total.

Then I went to Redtail where they were having a club exchange/50% off sale. Spent a couple hours with Rick trying to find a driver that worked. We finally found a Calloway X2 Hot with a stiff tour shaft that between the club and his coaching he figures I will eventually be about 290 yards off the tee. And vaguely straight.

I was frustrated by my earlier round so went to King City to sneak in a quick 9.

On 1 I took the new driver, did not roll my rists but was a solid 260 and in the #9 fairway but not by much. I then left a half swing 55 degree short, chipped short, on in 4, 2 putt for a double.

My 7 wood was barely short on the 178 yard par 3. I had a nice chip and just missed the putt. bogey, okay.

Used my 4 hybrid and with the ground firming up got some roll, about 235 yard drive just barely left and short of green. I short-chipped but 2-putt for parr. Okay, now we are cooking.

From about 140 yards I went 7 iron and was pin high, albeit left. Decent chip but no break on green, and my first putt had no break. Still 2-putt for bogey, decent for me.

Stuck the 6 iron a little long and right. With a downhill chip to a sidehill green I was short on the green, then the first putt just would not roll but I hit the 2nd for another bogey.

Caught up to some guys who waved me through. Hit the 4 hybrid too high, landing about 120 out. Hit my 9 iron thin, long and right. Short on the chip, and a weak second chip but another 2 putt. A double, but not horrible.

The 352 yard "par 5". Tried the new driver with the tee it high, let it fly. It did fly...high and left. It was a cart path aided 150 yarder. My off the fairway 4 hybrid (nice bounce) was a little short from 200 out and slightly right. Decent chip, just missed putt, "par".

I am sitting on a 33 and thinking about my low for the year. New driver, rolled my wrists...rained it off the condos way left. Laying 3. Rolled my wrists, well left into the street. Laying 5. Switched to the 4 Hybrid, skied it to the 140 mark. Bladed the 7 iron pin high but right. Overshot green to far fringe. Putted from there so badly I was further off the green than that shot...ended up with a ten. First double figure hole of the year...

So much for my low. Rolled wrists on new driver...never saw the ball. Had literally no clue where it was. Re-tee. Hit it to the 150 mark leftish. 8 iron onto front edge of green. Saw first was 270 yard drive left of fairway. Ball below feet I did 8 iron half swing and about 5 yards short. Not a great chip left long putt. 2 putt for bogey.

And a 48 that should have been a 43 or better....but better than the morning round

Round 24

Went out with a vendor and it started well. Drive was long and just barely left of center. Overshot green by 20 yards but chipped to 6' and 1-putted for par.

Next hole a little draw on tee shot and hit provisional, though figured I would find the ball. I did not. 3 off the tee, a bad chip, a 2 putt...I just had a 6.

A nice drive followed by landing on the green in reg. Missed birdie by about 2" but had a second par on the first three holes.

We have now completed the decent portion of the proceedings.

Hook left ob, made a great lag on my 4th shot, missed an easy putt, one-handed the overshoot, missed that, basically just gave up and took a triple. Followed by a quadruple, bogey, bogey, quadruple, triple. It was a complete and utter meltdown and a 54.

King City rounds 21,22,23 4/11/15

I was at the course by 6:30, teed off at 7:05. 4H long but straight...which since I was playing for a draw meant into the 9th fairway.But a nice wedge over trees to close, chip to 4', 1 putt par. Should have walked off the course right there because the day only went downhill.

I missed the 178 yard par 3 short right, chipped to about 6' and just missed that. Still, a bogey is not bad.

Then I hit my 4H well and fairway, but my chipping game betrayed me. Long on the second chip, putted from the fringe, had makeable putt I missed, another bogey.

That was the problem. I hit my 4h on the tight hole, had a beautiful drive. But then took 3 chips to get on the green from 65. Multiple times on all holes this happened all day long. I would have a nice drive. My 4H was solidly between 200 and 240, mostly fairway all day.

Played 27 holes. 13 fairways, in 18 attempts. many 1-putts 5 pars. But many times after a fairway I would take 2-4 more shots from 85 yards or less to get on the green. I MUST get that under control. Still, lots of fun, lot of distance walked.

I also hit a couple shots I am very happy with. One was a 55 degree wedge from about 85 yards that i was able to "shape" right to left to go around a tree and it landed in directional terms exactly where i wanted, successfully going around.

The other was a 7-wood I tried to go the other way and successfully created a left to right ball movement. Unlike most of my life, however, this one was on purpose. I considered angles, swing path, and deliberately created it.


King City 4/10/15 Round 20

After Camas Meadows I was anxious to see how I could do. Got joined by "Rich" on first hole. I promptly tried to justify yesterdays score and hooked the first ball left over the houses. But I HOOKED it. Not aimed left and hit it straight, I hooked it.

Then I sliced right and short. From 135ish out I hit a 9 iron straight and way wide of the green. Then i chipped over the green.On in 4, in in 6, plus 2 for being three off the tee. Starting with a snowman, a big number.

Still trying to play yesterdays game, I sliced short on the par three, ending up blocked by a tree. I tried to go under it with the 4 hybrid but was much too hard, going long. I did make a nice 3rd chip and 1-putted for a bogey. Not bad after the first 2 shots.

Then he topped his drive, going maybe 30 yards. I decided that was a good idea and went 20 yards. Then I tried again, overswung, and went maybe 20 more yards. Then I hit it right of the green. Took 4 shots to get on again, a 2 putt for a 6. 18 after three. On pace for an ugly 54.

On the 167 yard par 3 I hit my 6 iron 100 yards, albeit straight. I did get on with an 8 iron pitch, but way to the left of the green and flag was way right. I was short with the first and just missed pulling off a tough 2 putt, ending up with a 3-putt for a 5.

But finally I hit a good shot. The demon hole was nothing as I hit it dead center, 210 yards using my 4 hybrid. Unfortunately, I then flew the green by 15 yards, short-chipped back, bludgeoned a putter from deep in the rough and 1-putted for a 5.

After the drive I was thinking birdie, after the first chip a double so...yeah.

Then I hit my 4 hybrid decently but left, ending up behind a tree. I deliberately tried to amplify the draw to go around the tree and pulled it off, hitting from 200 out to the left fringe of the green. I then misread it horribly and was not close, but was on in regulation. It was a long putt and I missed by 4', but then hit that for a par.

I then let him talk me into trying the driver. I tried to play a draw and really crushed it, but there was no draw. I would have been about 280 but it was right and over the houses. I then hit the 4 hybrid 210ish down the left side, took my A wedge long, got it somewhat close, 2 putt for a 7.

Finally I tried the driver again but swung too hard. It was fairway left but short. From 150 out I flew the green by 10 yards, took 2 tries to get on the green, missed a makeable putt and finished with a 6.

Total of a 51.

I am on the verge of making progress. Not there yet.


Camas Meadows

After work Wednesday i went to the driving range to check out the new clubs. Started with an 8 iron. Lined up carefully, tried the "swing to right field", the swing felt good, sounded good...never figured out where I hit it. Did I slice? Hook? Fade? Draw? Straight? Was it short? Long? right length?

Tried it again. Same result. And again. Same result. Went to my old swing. Ah, there it was. Nice, towering ball flight, beautiful shot. Back to the inside-out swing. Where did the ball go? This pattern lasted the entire session. I saw a handful of balls and they were mostly vaguely straight, some had a slight draw, a couple sliced, one hooked. But out of maybe 110 balls I saw maybe 20? So I really had no gauge of either distance or accuracy since I literally had no idea where the ball was going.

So today John and I took on Dave and Jim. The first hole is 348 yards, tight fairway. John hit it straight albeit short. I selected the hybrid 4, lined up carefully, nice smooth takeaway, came across swinging to right field...beautiful 200 yard drive left center side of fairway. From 150 I pulled my 8 iron and stuck it about 10' left of the pin. I 2-putted for a natural par. Nice!

The second hole is a 167 par 3. I yanked it left, pin high but well left of the hole. We played John's. I did manage a nice chip but we both missed a makeable putt.

The next hole I hit a line drive with the hybrid, ending up short and left. I mis-hit the 8 iron ob.

And so it went. I would hit some really nice shots with every club...I pounded the green from 120 and in with my 55 degree and 50 degree wedges. I hit the 4 hybrid between 200 and 240 yards with mostly accurate shots. A few times I broke out the driver and sliced every time. Not once on the day did I hit my beloved 7 wood.

On one memorable hole, a long par 5, I hit the driver 240 but we were behind a towering tree. I wisely took a pitching wedge, only moved the ball about 140 yards...but dead center fairway. The guys were impressed at my restraint.

The last hole is a dogleg left, 204 yards to the shortside of the turn. Everyone else tried to go right. I tried to play a draw and, to my surprise and delight, did just that, hitting the turn perfectly and leaving 195 to the green. The green has water short left, bunkers both sides. I did not realize that. I tried to draw the 4 hybrid but got more of a hook. I was pin high but about 20 yards left of the green between 2 trees. I tried to chip up high, just trying to get on the green but toed it off the end into the near bunker. John went in the far bunker, we played his. I tried to play a proper bunker shot and did not even get out of the bunker. We ended up taking a 6 on the hole and tying them for the round.

John and I went 44-44, they went 45-43. Great time and I am very pleased with the new clubs and swing path. I had a couple natural pars, looks at a couple more, and I now have the distance to play any yardage respectably and the short clubs to hit the green pretty consistently. I just need to dial in my short game now. Love, love, love the new clubs.


King City

believe that puts  me at 19 rounds at king City. 5 to go to "break even"

King City Catch Up

Lately I have just been using the Grint for scorekeeping so I don't have score cards, but:
Shot 50 for 9
96 for 18 Saturday, April 4th without benefit of a single par
46 on Sunday, April 5th with a single par

So Monday Dave wanted to get in a practice round. I decided to use the Nike Power Feel balls.

First hole I decided to unleash my driver. If I hit it well I would start strong, if I sliced...well, I can play for my slice. And unleash I did, hitting a towering shot almost 40 yards down the left side of the fairway.

Now, you might be saying, "he forgot a 2" or even a "1". Nope, 40 yards. Maybe 150 yards in the air, but only 40 yards horizontally.

So then I pulled out my 7 wood and landed it pin high just off the green about 5 yards. Then the old I am a horrible chipper bugaboo struck, and I was barely on in three. Still, a 2-putt gave me a bogey. Not a horrible hole after that brutal drive.

I then pulled my 7 wood left of the green off the tee, but pin high. A nice chip for a change to abou 4' from the cup, 1-putt for par. Doing well.

Now, when I play with Dave, Jim and/or John, I play their rules, and so we were playing with one mulligan each. Confidently I stepped up with the driver, aimed properly, had the face closed, swung pretty hard, watched it sail over the houses. Mulligan. He was almost ob himself. I then hit it long, straight...but pulled left OB over the houses. I gave up, grabbed the 7w and put it center of fairway. Unfortunately, that was 3 (the way we play, 5 technically). Shot four was a towering gap wedge that was pin high, left side of green. A 2-putt gave me "just" a double bogey.

I then rip my 7 wood well left of the hole, like 30 yards, on the par 3. But I stick my chip on the green. It is a long sidehill putt. I just try to get close but hit it dreadfully short. Then I miss long and below the hole. And am short coming back up...I just 4-putted for the first time this year, taking a 6 on what should have been a 4.

The next hole was playing 167. Dave sliced badly, but got a charitable bounce into the fairway, albeit short. I hit my 5 iron stiff, and...right, bouncing backwards. Grr-animal. Nothing a nice chip will not fix. I am just above the pin with a long putt, but I think I have the read. I just miss the putt and have a 2-foot tap in. I do not take it seriously and pay the price, yanking it. I make the next one but now have 7 putts in 2 holes.

I also have a triple and a double bogey back to back. Not good.

Especially with my demon hole coming up, the one I have no shot for.

I decide to go with the conservative 7 wood but pull it further left than I ever have and go well left of the trees, leaving myself a 95 yard weird angle shot. My gap wedge has gorgeous shape but flies the green but 20 yards. My first chip is 3 yards short of the green. I putt on to about 8' from the cup, miss that but finish with a double.

I have now gone double-triple-double-double. I am building toward a big number. Worse, I have lost all confidence in every club in my bag. My 7 wood is pull-a-potamus, my driver has gone 40 yards, ob right, and ob left. My chipping is somewhere between laughably pathetic and abominably bad.

Dave and I joke back and forth about club selection. I hit a 3/4 swing driver and it ends up 190ish yards down, right side of the fairway. I tell Dave I am going to lay up with my 150 yard 8 iron, and I hit a towering shot that gently moves a hair right. He thinks I am in the sand, I think I am long on the hill on the backside.

Turns out I am on the extreme right edge of the green and experienced backspin. The ball was seriously about 4" back towards me from the monstrous ballmark.

I leave my putt about 3' short but manage to just lip the next one in for birdie. Yes, I know it is only a 352 yard par 5, which really should be a 4...but I am a crap golfer, so I am going to count it.

Next hole is the widest fairway available, it is a plain, boring 284 yard par 4 with no real hazards. I swing hard with my driver but mostly get air, driving it about 200 yards and landing an inch from the cart path 15ish yards inside the 100 yard marker. I pull my gap wedge thinking it is the right club. It is not as I hit the tree on the backside of the green about 20' in the air, but I get a fortuitous bounce back toward the green. I chip to about 4' from the hole and hit the putt for a par.

I have had some titanic drives (for me) on the 9th. It is possible to aim well left, overswing, and let the fade hit the left side of the fairway or a slice the right side. And that is what I do. Except my slice goes into the first hole fairway. I am about 80 yards out. My sand wedge is 45-65 yards. I don't want to go long so I pull out the sand wedge and as it turns out I land pin high, about 6' from the cup.

Before my putt I look at Dave and announce, "I want this birdie so bad". And the ball rolls toward the hole...not enough on it...need one more pauses on the very edge of the cup...and rolls in. BIRDIE.

For the second time in my life I have 2 sub-par holes.

With the mulligan it cards as a 42, without it a 44. 2 birdies, 2 pars. So much fun. Loved it.



Thursday Scott was unable to make it but Tim and David did and both were playing well.

The first game I was lob serving and for the first round so were they. But David was doing his blistering corner crack-out return and Tim was almost as good. They both started scoring and serving it harder and faster. By my third time up I had just 3 or 4 points and Tim had 7. By my 6th time up I was stuck on 6 and David had 8, Tim 9.

Worse, my shots were still not falling. I had struggled in singles against Tim Tuesday to the point he actually won 2 of 7 games. My pinch shots were coming back to the second service line, my pass shots were rebounding off the back wall, my ceiling shots were floating...and the same thing was happening again.

I started my mid-speed serve, got to about 9 but Tim had 13 and David 10. Then Tim got to 14. I put him out of the box. I dropped down, went with my laser serve, scored a couple. David did to, getting to 12. Tim stuck on 14. I got to 13. David got shut down. Tim got shut down.

I got to 14. Tim and David and I went three rounds with the score 14-14-13. Tim had a chance at one but I got a tough scoop off the floor to keep the rally alive, did it again, did it a third time and he got anxious, putting it straight into the floor.

And I served an ace to win. Tough, exciting game.

The next game started slow, with a 1-1-1 tie for a couple rounds until David ran off 5 straight. But soon I took control and slowly my shots started to come back. All the golf has been jacking up my swing, but I am remembering the old inside-out backhand cross court corner pinch and it was scoring a lot of points for me.

That opened some lines for some multi-wall passing shots that garnered a couple points on shots that earlier were set-ups for them and then my forehand started popping on straight-in kill shots.

I ended up winning 15-12-9.

Both guys were playing well. Tim was not floating it, both guys were getting to shots, they were scoring was the most competitive night we have had across the board in months.

Game 3. Neither of them can score. My serve is suddenly on, creating points both off the serve and week returns. When they get a good return I am controlling the action, playing from the center, running down everything, creating tough angles and scoring. 9 points my first turn up. 3 more my second turn up. Three more my third time up...


Some nights that would be no big deal but on a night where at this point they were both playing well? That...was impressive.

They would play better the rest of the night, but never well enough to keep any game from essentially being a skunk...they would each score 4-6 points, but in no game would they combine to score 15 the rest of the way. It was dominating.

I was getting better as the night went on. It was fun...for me at least.

And it is reassuring to know I can mix the golf and racquetball and walk away with decent results.


King City, Multiple Rounds

After the fitting/lesson, I was anxious to get out and try the new thoughts. I knew going in that I was likely to play poorly while implementing these things but I wanted to see what would happen. Unfortunately, we had racquetball.

Even more unfortunately, I played awful. Skipopotamus was in full effect. I skipped from the backcourt. I skipped from the midcourt. I skipped form the front court. I skipped my money corner kill. I skipped passing shots. It was almost as if I was mixing a golf swing with a racquetball swing...I played so badly I actually lost 3 of 8 games, my worst win-rate in years.

And afterwards, what better thing to do than, armed with fatigue from walking 27 holes the day prior, doing weights and playing 2-1/2 hours racquetball this day, and having a new swing path to try out, what better thing to do than go golfing?

I used The Grint and here is what I did:

3 bogeys. Everything else double or worse. 7 Penalty strokes. 3 FIR. 0 GIR. 16 putts. A 50.
On the back I more or less reverted to my own stroke.
2 penalties, 3 FIR, 2 GIR, 3 pars, 16 putts, a 43. 93 for the round. Better.

It was hilarious. I would take my first swing the way I was shown at Redtail. After the penalty I would take my swing. After the hole Bob (the guy I was paired with) would say "Nice par" while I was taking a double after the OB/penalty. In other words...I was playing well with my swing. But I intend to fix it because overall it is the wrong swing.

Then Monday I went out, last sunny day and my first time carrying the clubs.

Shot a 50 going out in a slow round playing from the whites for first time in a whilte. I had 2 Fir, 1 GIR, 1 Par, 17 putts, 3 penalties (6 strokes).

On the back I thought I had nobody in front of me. I lambasted a beautiful drive, left side of fairway, then a GIR to follow my fir, albeit very far left. I had a nice lag putt and...left the ball one rotation from going in. Bogey.

And found someone still teeing off on the next hole. Someone I know to be a slow player. So I decided to skip the hole. And got to the next hole to find a couple hitting the ball about 20 yards at a whack. So I skipped that hole.

Ended up not taking score...or rather, putting the score on the Grint but incomplete.

8 iron on the 143 was short left fringe. ended up with 2-putt for bogey.

8 iron long and right, my chip on should have left me a par putt but I missed it, another bogey. Ironically, I was playing well...

Then the narrow hole I struggle with. Beautiful drive with 7 woods over tree to 95 yards out, behind a tree. It is a tall tree but I believed I could take my gap wedge over it, a solid 85-95 yard club. I lined up my shoulders, made a nice smooth swing, the ball sailed over the tree with ease, I smiled, stepped left to watch it crush the green...or, more accurately, land 20 yards beyond the green. Nothing 3 blown chips could not make worse...

Then I actually put a nice long drive on the left rough, but clean shot at green. 150 yards from green, 8 iron, no problems. Unless of course the iron blows 30 yards past the green...and I then hit a low branch with first chip, oh, it is ugly.

Then I yank my first drive ob left, my second long and right, blow the chip...

lets just say I am probably glad there is no scorecard because it would have been a tall number. But still fun because I was walking and golfing.

16 holes for the day.

King City Multiple Rounds

Been a while since I have updated. Back on Friday the 27th I was put in a fourseom with 3 Koreans. One of them, Jimmy, he and I hit it off really well and have golfed together a couple times since. Nice guy, similar abilities at that point. More on that later.

THey like to play from the blues. Now, on the one hand, King City is a short course. There are houses on both sides. They have three sets of tees; the short reds, the moderate whites and the long blues. There is not a huge difference: 131 yards on the whites. But it is a difference, and I usually play the whites with John, Jim and Dave so I try to stick with those. These guys wanted to play the blues.

It started well. Long, left center fairway, 9-iron from 125, 2-putt, par. This would be my last par for the front. I then went bogey, double (with a penalty/retee for OB), bogey the rest of the way for a 43. I am happy with that. I hit 2 fairways (1 after going ob), one GIR, 3 1-putts and 6 2-putts. I am happy with playing that level.

Just Jimmy and I played the back, which is really replaying the same nine. Fairway, GIR, 3-putt...what? Oops. Oh well, bogey is acceptable.

Then another 3-putt for a double.  Then a drive OB and a triple. Then 3 to get on a par3, taking a 5. Then on the next par 3 I go GIR, 2-putt for par. Just my second par of the day.Also my last.

Double with another drive OB, double (with a 1-putt...meaning 6 to get on for a short par 5), FIR followed by bogey, bogey.

A 48 on the back. 5 shots worse. Still, for the round 43-49-91. I am good there. 23 over par for 18 holes playing the blues for the first time.

I hit 4 fairways and 3 greens in regulation. I had 4 1-putts, 2 3-putts, and 34 putts total.
I had 4 penalties.

Saturday Jimmy and I had 8 am tee time. The front took forever, then we got space and played again in less than half the time.

I used my 7 wood. And I cranked out a 220 yard shot left -side, fairway. Then from 60 yards out it took me 2 more shots to get on and 3 putts to get in. After that beautiful shot, a double?

Followed by yanking it left, taking 2 more to get par shot barely reached the green on a par 3. Poor chipping again. Another double.

Talk about a rugged start. After 5 holes you have played 2 par 4 and 3 par 3s. I had taken 26 shotsinstead of 17. Almost double bogey golf. Even worse? That was without the "benefit" of a penalty. I then went bogey-par (WITH a penalty, helped by 1-putt), Par, double for a 46.

1 penalty. 3 fairways, 1 GIR. That right there is a problem. 17 putts. The 2 3-putts are a problem, the 3 1-putts much better.

The back was...interesting. Par. Penalty, Quadruple. Double with a 1-putt and penalty. Bogey, bogey, then FIR, chip-in for par. Yes, after hitting the fairway it went pitch over green, chip over green, chip in for par. I would finish with 4 consecutive fairways, a GIR in the middle, and went bogey-bogey-double bogey for another 46.

2 penalty strokes, 4 FIR, 1 GIR, 15 putts, 1 chip-in, 46-46/92.

A real problem has developed where I am actually driving it a little better, routinely landing between 110 and 60 yards from the green...and then taking 2, 3, even 4 shots to get on the green. I also am having more 3-putts. I seriously should have broken 90 on this round. Easily.

FIR. Chunk chip. Chunk chip. 3-putt. Should have been playing for par but my short game just disappeared. Then I yanked my tee shot ob left on the par 3. I was laying 4 when I reached the green and 3-putted. My first over double par score in forever. I came back with a nice drive, FIR. Then took 3 chips from less than 60 yards out to get on the green. A double.

bogey, bogey, double, bogey, double, tee shot OB and a triple. I shot a 52. Or exactly double bogey golf. With zero par or better. In fact, I only had 3 bogeys. This was a simply horrific round.

Shot a 52. With 3 FIR, 3 penalties, 1 GIR, 21 putts. Ugly. But I had still been golfing.

I had free time, the Goose had okayed the purchase of a golf bag now, fitted clubs next month. I headed off to Redtail to price the package. Over the next 3 hours Stuart basically gave me a lesson.

I have taught myself an incorrect takeaway that promotes a slice. I have also been aligning myself inproperly based on my understanding the feet were supposed to aim left of the target. I have also been opening my clubface, promoting a slice. Oh, and my grips were too small, clubs too short, with wrong loft and lie. And graphite is wrong shaft for a swing as fast as mine. In otherwords, the only thing I have been doing right is having fun.

Here is the problem. I have been golfing on a course that has houses left and right. The consequences for a bad swing are a lost ball and potential damage to property. So I have been swinging free and easy and controlled.

On a driving range, the consequence for a bad shot is having to bend over and put another ball on the mat. Possibly being mocked, though less likely since most people are just whacking away with no thought for what is happening next to them.

So he puts me on the swing monitor and I am happily unleashing, putting 89-95 mph swings together with 7-irons. But on the course my swing is much shorter.

I loved the feel of the graphite shaft hitting the ball but I liked the result of the steel shaft. Admittedly off a mat, but the ball was carrying 190 yards. Uhm...there are times I do not hit my DRIVER 190 right now. Sure, there is the occasional 280 or 250 yarder, but realistically it is a 190 yard club.

Anyway, I upgraded to Winn Grips, went with 5-9 irons, 3 wedges, a 4 hybrid. The 4 Hybrid was consistently hitting 220. I loved the feel of it. I also got a nice ba to carry, hoping to burn more calories by walking instead of pulling. Yeah, it is a weight loss gimmick. I don't care. I am happy.


King City 3/21/15

After breakfast with the wife I snuck over to King City for a quick round. By which I meant another slow round. You probably know how I played already...

I did hit the fairway with my first tee shot, and was maybe 140 from the green. Unfortunately, after 2 I was still 20 from the green and my chip stunk. A 3-putt meant a 50.

The long Par 3 was a pleasant surprise as I hit green in regulation. Also surprising was the second consecutive 3-putt. This round is not starting well, a bogey after a GIR.

Then I lose a ball left out of bounds. Too bad because my follow up is dead center fairway, pitch onto green, 2 putt. So a double. Okay, we have +1, +2, +3 covered...lets try a par?

Or I could take 4 shots to get on the green and 1-putt for another double.

Then the par 3 playing 143 yards. Just short of the green off the tee, longish putt after a weak chip, 2-putt for bogey. I am laying 25 after 5. I am NOT playing well.

Worse, I have my bugaboo hole. I blast my driver, it just hits the top of the tree and gets knocked down for a 110 yard drive. I then get close to the green, but blast the chip long, barely hanging to the back edge leaving a sidehill downhill putt. 3 putts later I have another double.

Out comes the driver on the par 5. I hit it well and am maybe 140 from the green after my drive. I land on the left front of the green. I reached a par 5 in 2. Yes, a short, 352 yard par five...but I reached in two. I left the eagle putt about a foot short but tap in for birdie.

Forget the doubles and triple, I have had a good round.

I then blast the drive inside of 60 yards but blow the first chip, leave a makeable putt I miss and take a bogey.

My final drive is a bit right but long, leaving a nice 40 yard shot at the green. I get on the center, 2-putt to finish with a par and a 44.

20 putts for the round, 2 fairways in regulation, 1 green in regulation, one green in less than regulation.

I will take it. I am not a good golfer, so 1 shot worse than bogey with a birdie to my credit? Sounds good to me.


Sah Hah Lee 3/20/15

It may have been a stressful week at work, this I can neither confirm nor deny. I was going to the Nelon concert at 7 towards Molalla so I headed that way early to "beat" traffic (wherein "beat" means sit in a few minutes less than I would if I left a few minutes later). I got there early enough I decided to try a new golf course, and that turned out to be Sah Hah Lee

It turned out to be a par 3. Okay, no worries, I can try that.

The first hole is a 143 yard tee off a cliff with water in front. I like these holes. I try my 8-iron. It has a beautiful shape, skying high, coming down hard...

And Coming down well, several feet onto the green. As usual I leave the first putt a good 4' short, but a 2-putt starts me off well with a par.

Hole 2 is 98 yards. Just right for my gap wedge.

Unless, of course, I leave it short.Which I did, though not horribly so. This is where I really need to get better; this should be an easy up and down.
I don't get on the green and barely get on the green with my second attempt however, and then have a long 2 putt. I leave the first one short 6' but drain that to "save" the double bogey. Oops.

Third hole is 134 yards across some inconsequential water. I try my 8 iron with a soft hit. I land a bit short of pin high, wide right.

Nothing a punch on almost off the green on the far side followed by a three putt cannot turn into a 5. ouch, back to back bogeys.

Here is the thing. I don't FEEL like I am playing poorly...every shot is around the green...but I am playing poorly. From as close as I am I should be taking 2 shots to get in the hole after my tee shot but I am taking 4.

Next hole is a 143 yarder and I do what you are supposed to; 8 iron lands on the green, 2 putt, par.

A 108 yarder sees my 9 iron land just short but a nice chip lets me 1-putt for par. THAT is what I need to learn how to do from that distance.

I have to wait for a couple guys I had caught up to who do I politely say...slow. They wanted me to play through on the next hole which I appreciated. It was a 125 yard hole across a bit of water. 9 iron and when I swung it felt like I picked it clean instead of clipping the tee. Thinking it was way wide and way long, I said "oops!"

They laughed. "You are going to like that". I would as it landed on the green pin high and somewhat left. As usual I left the first putt 4ish feet short, but managed to roll that in to score my 4th straight par.

Now a 151 yard hole with a bit of a sand trap guarding the left. I aimed somewhat right with my 8 iron. I went short and way right. Somehow I managed to conjure up a shot that put me on the front of the green. Then I went past the hole...hooray...about 5 feet. Missed the comeback, had a 3-putt for a 5. Ouch.

Last hole, 120 yards. 9 iron....and I took a big divot, leaving it well short.

Nothing I could not fix by trying a sand wedge. For the first time all day I had a mis-hit, skulling it about 6" above the ground and left of the green.

From here it took me 2 to get onto the green. That is not the finish I wanted.

But I did 2-putt for par.

On the day I took 18 putts...2 per hole. I can live with that. I had 5 pars, including 4 in a row, and 4 double bogeys. Interesting.

It lets me know for sure what I need to work on....chips from 20 yards or less. I am awful at those.

Still, a fun day and I am always happy with 5 pars in 9 holes...


King City 3/19/15

John and I are coming off a win against Dave and Jim which is nice. For a 2 or 3 year period we only won once or twice, including I am pretty sure we were shut out 2 years ago and only one once last year in about 5 or 6 attempts. Dave and Jim mesh really well...if Dave hits a good shot, Jim hits a bad one or if Jim hits a good shot, Dave hits a bad one...they never seem to both hit a poor shot at the same time.

Or, if they many times have John and I been laying 2, 20 yards off the green, while they are laying 2 160 yards off...only to land 6' from the cup and 1-putt. They are just really solid in the 2-man best ball format whereas John and I...well, we either both hit decent shots or both hit bad ones. There is no "pick up the partner".

We did, however, win at Skamania. Time to see if we can keep it rolling.

Jim leads off with a drive out of bounds. John follows his example. Dave then uncorks a nice drive down the right, no surprise there, it was inevitable. I put a 7 wood 190 yards left-center of fairway. Okay, little surprise...Dave actually shaded more right than we thought and they are under a tree. Jim hits said tree, landing about 8 feet in front of them. Dave goes wide left. With the door wide open, I land my gap wedge on the short side of the green. Naturally Dave then hits a nice chip and they 1-putt while I 2-putt...Dave and I end up with natural pars as our partners struggle on the hole. Dave did a great job of scrambling.

The 178 yard par 3 is not good for my psyche as I cannot hit the 3-iron and my 4 is too short. What to do? How about watching Jim land pin high left of the green, John and Dave both fail to get to the ladies tees. I then blast the 4 iron, landing on the back fringe of the green.

Yes, after never getting closer than 10 yards to the FRONT of the green, it is behind the! Go me!

Of course they chip on and close and 1-putt as we 2-putt. Both pars. This time I yip my putt and John saves the hole by rolling his in. I missed back to back natural pars by 1 rotation of the ball.

The 249 yard hole has been a cupcake for me most rounds. Jim goes OB. John hits short left under a tree. Dave blasts it long and straight, inside 150 center of fairway. I pull out my trusty 7 wood...and proceed to yank it left over the houses. Do we play Johns? I suggest we play a provisional mulligan...if John's is playable, we play his. If not, we will play mine. He HATES using mulligans this early but because it is provisional he concurs. I land about 200 yards down, off fairway right...bad hop takes it across cart path but playable.

His ball is in bad shape...we would have to go under one tree and over the next, impossible, or around it. We would have to punch into the fairway and would be laying 2 190 yards from the green. We take my mulligan. I then land on the green about 6' from the cup, very makeable putt. Meanwhile, Dave and Jim are struggling. They are on in 3, but very makeable for the par, maybe a 4' putt which they never miss.

I do miss my birdie putt by a couple inches but again John saves the day with a clutch putt for the birdie. Then both Jim and Dave miss, taking a 5. We picked up 2 shots. Great use of mulligan, as we would have lost the hole by 1-2 shots, instead we win the hole by 2.But will I regret going through holes 4-6 without my mulligan?

Now for demon hole 1 of 3, these next 3 holes being the part of the course I struggle with.

Jim is OB right. John chunks his shot horribly. Dave is short and right. The door is open. Being a 196 yard hole and knowing my 7 wood earlier was 190ish, I pull it out...and promptly hit a tree on the left. A short tree. A tree that should have no bearing on the hole. I will not have a full swing but John will so we play mine.

He puts it on the fringe, and it is a good thing, as I hit mine about 5 yards in a brutal display of incompetence. We 2-putt for a bogey...but Jim and Dave fly the green, Jim struggles with his chip...and Dave picks him up with a fantastic uphill over a mound chip that rolls to a stop in makeable distance. OUr wide open door to pick up a stroke just closed. Though they are laying 3 and we are 2. From there is took us 3 more to get in while they had a 1-putt lip out and 2 putted to match our 5.

The next hole is another tough one for me. It is short but the right side is guarded. It is pretty much only psychological as those trees should never come into play. John had stopped off in the convenient facilities so I went first. Playing at 143, I hit a towering 8-iron. Short and left. John stepped up and landed fringe right. Dave and Jim were both short.

Jim found my ball, unlike the other day when I never did. It had plugged top deep. Thanks Jim! We hit a nice lag and tapped in for par. They chipped on but also 2-putted.  We were now up 3.

The next hole has tall trees on the left to protect my left-to-right flight pattern and no room on the right. John topped his ball, going nowhere. I seriously, seriously considered putting my 8 iron 150 yards out to put us at the 150 mark, believing it would be my most accurate club. However, I had just yanked it left and if you are going to hit a bad shot, what advantage is there to a short bad shot over a long bad shot? 277 yard hole...might as well try for some distance. Out came the 7 wood.

Well, I did hit it with my standard left to right pattern. And I did start it towards those pesky trees. However, I  went over them. Over the tallest tree. It was maybe a 180 yard drive...but we had a clear shot at the green from the left side of the fairway. About as good a "drive" as I have had on this hole.

Meanwhile Jim went OB with his first drive and Dave went into that bunch of trees I went over. Jim hit another for his mulligan and it was wide right but playable.

They then both hit about 20 yards. Their next shot flew the green. John chunked his shot into the tree in the fairway. I hit my gap wedge and it was beautiful, landing on the green, albeit on the far left. They finally got on with their 4th shot, we were laying 2. We can really slam the door here.

OR we can brutally 3-putt while they 2 putt. We still picked up a shot but we kind of should have had a par. Still, we are 6 holes in and have 3 pars, a birdie, a bogey and a double. We are a comfortable 4 shots up with 3 to play and John still has his Mulligan.

Ah, the par 5. What to do? My decision gets easier when John uncorks his best drive of the day, laying about 200 yards from green in center of the fairway. I decide to aggressively pull out my driver.

Lately I have been hitting it straight but playing for the slice. I decide to play for it being straight.

I slice. We hear it hit the house. Jim also goes O.B. but Dave crushes his drive to the 150 marker, center of the fairway. We debate John using his mulligan but I am against it. He is in good shape. And I turn out to have bounced back inbounds 260 yards down the right side. We are kind of under one tree with another in front of us and water between but John prefers the distance to using his clean center of fairway shot.

This is one area I struggle with best ball. Yes, I am 90 to 100 yards further forward...but there is lots of potential trouble with my shot. Even should we go under the first, over the second tree and over the water, there is a sand trap guarding our side of the green. However, my teammate STRONGLY prefers the distance. Quality of shot is less important to him. So we take mine.

And Dave then crushes his second shot, hopping into the greenside bunker. John gets over the water but wide right, barely over the pond. We are maybe 145 yards out, perfect for my pitching wedge, which conveniently also means I should clear the tree in front of me. I hammer it, it feels good, it soars high...almost too high...the line is right...I am excited...and it crashes to earth 10 yards short of the green. I am stunned.

Still, we are laying two in the short rough, they are laying 2 in the sand. Advantage us. Until John and I both fail to reach the green with our chips and Dave puts his bunker shot within about a foot of the cup. We manage to 1-putt for the par, but Dave had a natural birdie and the get a shot back with a really nice sequence. Well played.

Ah, the 284 wide open fairway no danger hole. Love this one. Jim continues to struggle, but Dave continues to hammer his drives. He is well inside the 150 yard marker. John hits to the 150 marker in the rough well right of the fairway. Confidently I blast my driver, playing for the slice, believing I am going to be center of fairway somewhere between 250 and 280 yards down. It felt so good I thought for a second I had driven the green. In fact I overdrove it, hitting it about 350 yards.

Oh, not where it should have been...straight as an arrow, bouncing down the road. Well left and out of bounds. Horrid shot. But it WAS 350 yards of concrete added beauty...ah, who am I kidding, without the concrete it was a 200 yard drive maybe.

Anyway, John hits it pin high but off to the left. I have my 8 iron and tell him with his shot I can be a bit more aggressive. I ramp up my swing and go straight at the flag. I achieve a dead stop and 6' from the pin, pin high and slightly right. They all agree it is the best mid-iron or chip they have ever seen me hit.

Naturally, Jim and Dave both land on the green, we all 2-putt (which is sad in the case of John and I...we should have birdied the hole) and head to the 9th with a 3 shot lead.

Jim finally gets a hold of one but Dave has by far the lengthiest drive I have ever seen him hit. John shanks his drive but it is playable, probably, on the right side of the rough with potential tree issues and still 160ish yards out. I decide to hit my driver and this time it is true, about 230 yards and right center of fairway.

They land on the green. We do not. In fact, we do not get onto the green until our 4th shot. Yes, from 65 yards out it took us 3 shots to get on the green. This, in case you are wondering, is NOT good.

Jim and Dave 2 putt to finish with a par while John and I appear to be melting down. But we 1-putt for the bogey and have our second consecutive win. Red marks are made.

For the day, Jim and Dave had 4 pars and a birdie. John and I had 5 pars and a birdie, shooting a 37 to their 39.

We won by precisely 2 shots. Remember that mulligan I took way back on hole 3 where we ended up with a birdie while they took bogey? There was your match.

Lot of fun, good time.


King City 3/18/15

Uh oh. The 4 slow guys were in front of me, I got joined with group of 3 guys who are on the "development squad" at the high school.

Translation: they combined for I believe 3 shots over 9 holes that traveled 150 yards or more. They combined for probably 210 shots over 9 holes. They took time for smack talk between shots. They took numerous practive strokes before hitting the ball 5 yards or out of bounds.

And we STILL were running up the back of the group in front of us. The round took 2-1/2 hours.

For 9 holes.

On a par 34.

That I played 18 holes in less than two hours just a week ago.

Anyhow, I started off okay, just 150 yards on my 7-wood drive and landing left side of the fairway. My 8-iron follow up was a few inches onto the green. I hit a decent lag and a 4' putt for par. Off to a surprisingly good start.

I played the 4-iron on the 178 yard next hole, yanked it left. Pedestrian chip, 2-putt, just a bogey. Not bad.

Then we ran into trouble. The 249 yard hole is usually an easy one for me, I tend to hit about 200 yards and be at the base of a mound right side of the fairway. This time I blasted it long, left and....after they had each hit about 5 shots, it had been so long since I hit it that I never did find it. Penalty, drop, hit past the green, 3 putt...I pulled a 7 off one of my better holes.

Ironically, the next 3 holes are my worst holes on the course, and with shot confidence, I decided to pull the 3-iron that I cannot hit for the 196 yarder. I landed pin high but wide right, very nearly clocking one of the group ahead of us who had just walked off the green. Free drop off the cart path. Pedestrian chip, decent lag, bogey.

And here is the problem. One kid hit a 4 yard tee shot...20 yard second shot...3rd shot out of bounds, 5th into some trees, 2' shot, 2 more chips to get to the green, and 5 putted. That would be a 13 for those counting. And he only lost 3 and 4 strokes to the other two guys. This was NOT a fast hole.

The group ahead of us was not even on the par 3 green yet...and the hole they were on was playing 143 yards.

When it was my turn I hit a beautiful, towering 8-iron we all thought was pin high and were debating if it was on the left edge of the green or just off.

By the time we got up there I had lost site of it. I never did find it. That is right...the time lapse was so severe that a relatively (for me) accurate 143 yard shot within 5 yards of the green became a lost ball penalty.

I did get a decent chip, but a 2-putt meant  a 6 and I was bummed. My once decent round now stood at a 25 after 5. I need to play par-level golf just to score well. Bogey golf the rest of the way will put me at a worst score yet.

Inexplicably on the tight 277 yard 6th hole, with trees blocking my beloved left to right ball flight and out of bounds lurking on the right where any mis-hit will go, I yanked out my driver. No, I cannot explain it either.

Well, I crushed the drive and it was a beauty. It was long, it would have a slight fade but be more or less where I wanted it, and it would be a set-up for a good score on the hole.

Until it hit the most outflung branch of the tree and dropped like a stone 110 yards from the tee box. My 8 iron landed short. I then flubbed the first chip and was on in 4. On the bright side, I am pretty consistently 2-putting. On the dark side...I just took a 6.

The longest hole on the course oddly gives me problems. I do not know if I try to kill it or what. I don't feel like I do. My driver did something it has not really done this year. I hit it maybe 220 yards...but sliced. Hit provisional in case it was o.b...and it did end up o.b. Then I crushed it 260, straight as an arrow. They all agreed it was just right of the copse of trees and well inbounds. Never did find it, dropped by the first ball, towering 8 iron, pitch on, couple putts...a 7. Ouch.

Then a miracle. 250 yards, center of fairway. Second fairway of the day. Nothing a pathetic chip couldn't solve, on in 3, 2-putt for 5.

My driver was again straight as an arrow and long it easily cleared the house it flew over on the fly. Re-tee...slice into fairway 1. I did manage to get onto the green but because of the penalty, it was in 4. I then proceeded to 3 putt for a third time to pull in and even 50.

I played awful and it was not just the pace. 6 penalty strokes on the round...not good.


King City 3/17/15

I got there a few minutes later than last time and that proved to be a huge mistake. In front of me was a slow solo woman hitting about 50 yards at a whack, who was behind a solo guy hitting about 150 yards a whack, who was behind a guy with his kid taking 15 minutes per hole, who were behind a fourseom who hit 150 yards...but was waiting for the foursome ahead of them to clear greens 300 yards away, and that foursome was slow also.

Translation; it took about 1:35 to play the front. And the scores showed it:

I was aiming left on my 7-wood drive planning to fade into the fairway or slice to the right. I absolutetly blistered it, long and left. Thought I saw it, headed down fairway...lost ball. No clue where. Drop for two. Short-hopped the pitch. On in 4 but long putt. Past the hole. Close to the hole. In for a 7. Ouch.

And I STILL had to wait for 2 people to tee off on the next hole and they did not want to become a 3-some. A short par 3, 178 yards. Tried the rescue wood. Blasted it left, out of bounds. Laying three off the tee. Back to the 4 iron, a decent shot but short. Chip, 2-putt, double par. Not a good start...

249 yard hole, my driver CAN reach, but I went with the 7 wood for control and was just right of the fairway about 30 yards short of the green. Sadly, I was still short of the green after a poor chip and barely on the green after my 3rd shot. Only a nice lag and longish (for me) putt "saved" the bogey...

The 196 yard hole is awkward. Too short for my 7 wood, I cannot hit the 3-iron, and I hit the rescue wood about 50 yards. Then the hole got was a par three where I was on in 3, in in 5.

At this point the guy and his kid waved me through. I hit a 9 iron, we were playing well forward for 125 yard distance. I was short and right, fast-chipped well past the hole, fast-putted and missed. A 5 on a three.

The next hole always gives me problems. A patch of trees stops my left to right ball movement and the right side is trees and/or out of bounds. I crushed my 7 wood. Unfortunately, I line-drived it...and it hit the first copse of trees on the left. I hurried through as the guy and his kid were then waiting so played it as a lost ball, dropped, landed a 6 iron short from 160 yards out, barely made it on the green with another bad chip, 2 putted for another 6.

The par 5 I was waiting...waiting...guy ahead of me hit into the 4-some when they were at the 150 mark. I took my 7-wood and...was about 150 yards out, wide right. However, my next shot was beautiful, flying over trees and the pond, landing about 20 yards right of the green. I flew a sand wedge over the sand trap and 2-putted for my first par.

Next hole I joined up with the single guy (woman had gone to play first few holes again because of the pace. I lasered a 260 yard drive just left of the fairway...then left my chip 10 yards short. On a 284 yard hole. My next chip left a 10' putt which I duly missed by 3' and took another bogey.

On 9 I went short but right, into the 1st fairway. From 100 yards out I thought I was inside 100 (bad advice from a guy who joined our group for this hole) and tried a gap wedge which was short. Decent pitch, missed putt, another 5. For a 49 on the front. Awful

But there was only one guy ahead of me, I decided to play the back. It went faster, about an hour.

Long drive, right side of fairway, short on the chip, on in 3, 2-putt. Bogey, much better than the opening triple.

Next hole my 4 iron was pin high just off green to right. Decent chip, 5' putt, par. Well, that is better.

Nice drive right side of fairway, bad chip...this is sounding familial...on in 3, 2-putt for bogey.

Then disaster. I hit my rescue wood short. Then I shanked a shot. After 2 I am still 65 yards out. At least that is perfect distance for my sand wedge. Unless I hit a line drive 40 yards past the green into a house. Penalty drop. Bad chip. Bad chip. I am laying 6 and an inch onto the took a great lag and a putt lipping in to pull a snowman.

I then landed my 9 iron on the upper level of the two tier green but make a nice sidehill downhill lag and putt in for par. Then I try my driver on my devil hole. I hit the last tree on the right, modify an 8 iron from 65 yards, 2-putt from a few inchies onto the green for second straight par.

My driver is 250 yards but left under trees. My rescue wood keeps it low, but I miss my chip. On in 4, 2-putt for bogey.

Another nice straight drive, this time I chip short, then chip close and 1-putt for par.

Last hole I blister my driver. Unfortunately I am still aiming left and fly over the houses. Re-tee, blast it long and right. Chip onto green, 2-putt for a double. Finish the back with a 44. Better than the front for sure!


King City 3/11/15 EAGLE

Nearly the perfect crime. Left work about 3:35, stopped for a healthy dinner of Taco Bell on the way and was teeing off at 3:58. Nobody in front or behind me so i could play at my own pace.

I wisely kept the driver in the bag, put my 7w about 200 yards out...but wide right, behind trees. Punch out into the fairway. From 110 out I put my gap wedge past the green. Pitched back up and on, 2 putt. A 6 to start, not so good.

Next hole is a 178 yard par 3 that always gives me trouble. I hit my 4 iron, something I seldom ever do. Nice, straight, and about 8 yards short. Pitch, putt, par. Nice!

Third hole I pulled out the 7 wood and put it about 220 yards down the fairway but wide right, not horribly so. I bump and ran my 8 iron to the left side of the green, 2-putt...back to back pars. I am happy, feel like I am playing well.

They had moved the tee box on the next hole up and to the right, so a 143 yard hole with trees slightly overhanging the box but not really. Except my ball flight started out right, clubbed the tree and my tee shot was about 20 yards. I then put a 9 iron well left of the green, a pedestrian pitch and a 2 putt. So much for playing well, that was a 5.

Then my toughest hole on this course. Trees overhang the left side so I cannot use my typical ball flight pattern and the right side is tight so even a fade puts you in trouble. Still, I have confidence in my 7 wood.

Misplaced, apparently because I sliced badly and actually lost the ball. Retee hit the trees to my left. I had to punch out into the fairway again and was laying 4 while over 200 yards from the green. Then I blasted past the green, had to pitch back and only a lengthy putt "saved" a 7. Playing well indeed. If by playing well I mean swinging the club like a monkey having convulsions.

At least the next hole is a soft one. 352 yard par 5, easily reachable in 2 for me. I pull out the driver for the first time on the day. I aim slightly left planning to hit it straight which will be well down the fairway, if it fades I am in the center of the fairway and even a slice might only be in the rough to the right.

Or I could yank it left over the first row of houses...and do the same with my second shot. I am now laying 5 off the tee. Only a fantastic second (6th) shot putting me close let me scramble and save the snowman. A round that looked promising after three holes and decent after four now looks awful.

Next hole is a 284 yard par 4. I considered what I had done with my driver, straightened my stance...and blasted a 260 yard drive right down the middle. The little yellow thing is my drive.

I then hit a beautiful chip shot to about 4' from the cup and rolled it in for a birdie.

Any round involving 3 par or better holes is good. Any round involving a birdie is great. I am not a good enough golfer to prefer score over the occasional birdie.

So now I am feeling great. I have had a great round. 9th hole, 292 yards and I blasted the driver, landing maybe 10 yards from the green. If that 280 yard drive is not the longest, most accurate I have ever had it is certainly in the conversation.

Aw yeah, golf. The game where if you are having a bad round, just wait for the last two holes and it will give you something to keep you coming back.

So from about 10 yards off, I initially just wanted to get it on the green. Then I thought, why waste such a great drive? I want to get this close. I lined my bump carefully, stuck it, and...

That is my second ever eagle.

Ah yeah, it was a great nine holes, a legit 43. Okay, so it is par 34 which means that is bogey golf. But it is legit bogey mulligans, counting every shot, re-teeing lost drives. Plus, I played it in an hour, there is nobody else on the course, I have unlimited golf...I am going to play 18.

This time my 7 wood is true, middle of the fairway though short...about 180 yards. From 180 out I try my gap wedge and drop the ball front left of the green. A nice easy 2-putt. The back starts off with a par.

Back to the 178. I decide to try my 3 iron since I was just short on the front. For the first time all day I go right...and about 80- yards, Another lost ball (it is in somebodys back yard I think).

Re-tee...straight down the middle. About 50 yards. The 3-iron is not good...My 8-iron actually gets me on the green in 4, which considering where I was after 3 is not good, but a 2-putt means I doubled par. Not a good hole.

My 7 wood I hit a worm burner to about 125 yards. Out comes the 9 iron...which I blade so badly the ball ricochets through the sand trap at the back of the green and checks up in the grass on the back lip. Out of the sand at least. I bump and run across the sand trap with my 8 iron, not trusting the sand wedge flop shot. That leaves me a long putt which I lag well and finish in 5. Could have been much worse than a bogey.

My rescue wedge puts me pin high left of the green on the 196 yard hole. Better choice than the 3 iron, clearly. I mis-hit the first chip, second one gets me a makeable but tough putt which I miss. A 4. I am okay with a bogey.

Back to the hole that caught me last time, the tight right side needing to get in the air. I club down to the 9 iron, tee up on the extreme left of the box and try to shape my shot to a fade. Believe it or not...I succeed and land about 20 ' past the flag on the green. It did what I tried, looked great, as did my lag to get close and easy finish for a par.

Now for the toughest hole. 7 wood I strike well and true, it is fading but beyond the last trees. From the tee box I figure I hit about a 230 yard drive with it and am ecstatic.

Until I get to the ball and it is at the 150 yard marker...a hundred yards short of where I thought it was. I was so sure I had seen it land beyond the furthest tree and it was 5 trees back. Then I hit my 8 iron about 170 yards, had to pitch back onto the green and another 2-putt for bogey. Oops.

This time on the par 5 I pulled out my 7 wood. No more driver. I figured a 200 yard drive would put me about the 150 marker. I hit my second shot from the center of the fairway about 2 yards inside the 150 yard marker. My towering 8 iron landed on the green on the far right. On in 2. Nice. I then left the first putt about 10 feet short and the 2nd putt about 6 feet short. That was not exemplary. Still, I made the par. Much better than the snowman the first time around.

Emboldened, I whipped out the driver. About 250 yards this time but it definitely had a fade and was on the far right. Pitch, 2-putt, par. I now have 4 pars on the back, 6 pars, a birdie and an eagle with one to go.

Juiced up, I slice the driver for the first time all day. It is about 50 yards from the green but in the first fairway. I try a soft sand wedge but take a huge divot. Another soft sand wedge leaves me short right. An 8-iron puts me about a foot from the cup and I finish with a bogey, giving me a 41 on the back.

That gives me an 84 for the round. Par is 68. That means I played 2 shots better than bogey golf. You will never hear me complain about that.

Even better, only about 5 holes had light rain, I played it in 2 hours and was home by 6:15. What a wonderful day. Oh, and an 84 is my lowest score my 4 strokes ever. Admittedly this was a softer course...but I am happy.

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