July 13, 2013

Trees. Lots of trees.

I had forgotten just how trees enter into the equation playing golf in New England – I’d gotten so used to Arizona courses where course boundaries are dictated by subdivision walls, or canals, or scrub areas, or bona fide desert. Sure, you have to keep your ball on the short grass, but the penalty for straying off target doesn’t seem so severe as when you’ve got these big green deciduous trees lining fairways – maybe they’ve always been that way, but I don’t remember them seeming so imposing.

Such was life at Trull Brook Golf Club today where I took my Arizona game back east to play with fellow Goodboy “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis under far more Goodboys Invitational-like conditions than I would ever find in the heat and dust of the courses I’ve played this year in the Valley of the Sun. Driving over to meet TFG today I couldn’t help but wonder how my game would hold up under New England conditions with all the trees, elevations, and grasses so different than what I’ve played thus far. Would I be able to adjust to the greens? How would I handle chipping off of thick grasses? How would my game hold up playing with friends as opposed to strangers and/or playing alone?

As I say, the scorecard doesn’t lie, so after a 50 + 48 = 98 round I can honestly say the answers to the above questions are a crazy combination of “yeses” to “sometimes”. On the positive side, my short game was putting was pretty solid: 34 putts total, including five one-putts and three three-putts. Nine holes at bogey or better, including my second straight round with a birdie (the par 3 sixth, where I let the wind take a softly-faded 6-iron to ten feet before sinking the putt), plus two other fairly easy birdie opportunities that were barely missed. I may have only hit nine fairways but I still drove the ball pretty well all day, including a 230-yard blast on the tough, uphill par 4 third that left even me wondering what alien being had entered my body.

On the negative side, by and large I struggled with my aim all day and not trusting my swing. Not sure why it was – perhaps it was the familiarity with Trull Brook and the memories of so many trainwrecks in previous years, but too many times I found it difficult to concentrate and fully commit to the shot or the club I was hitting, and it cost me somewhere between 4-6 strokes out there. This is something I need to work hard on over the next week before Goodboys Invitational weekend begins: you get that sloppy in a round with friends and you might be able to get away with it; you do that at a Goodboys Invitational and you’ll get slaughtered out there. So there’s still much work to do.

Nevertheless, for the first time in my golf life I’ve shot below 100 two rounds in a row. That, at least in my view, is quite an accomplishment. It’s gratifying to see all the hard work I put in back in Arizona starting to pay off in a big way. On Monday TFG and I will be playing my absolute favorite course in the world – Portsmouth Country Club. It’s long and wide open but you need to keep the ball in the fairway and you need to bring your short game. It’ll be a good test to see if I can keep up the progress I’ve been making to this point.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 02:12 | Comments Off on Bringing It Back Home
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