April 21, 2014

It was a dreary and damp day in the Valley of the Sun – quite unusual for this time of year, and my mood matched the low-hanging clouds and drops of rain that were spitting on my scorecard on the 10th tee at Western Skies Golf Club. The twosome I’d been playing with had hit the snack bar before we started our back nine, and here I am with a 55 staring back at me courtesy of yet another nine holes of sloppy golf. It wasn’t that I was hitting the ball poorly – in fact, the work I’d put in on my iron play following the criticism of my last round was really paying off. But playing out of trouble had proved unusually troublesome, and a round that had started off bogey-par-bogey had disintegrated into the usual crapola with double bogeys on 6 and 7, a triple on 8, and a quadruple on 9. And those 19 putts hadn’t helped, either.

Worse than that, my focus on that front nine had been terrible, as bad as it had ever been. I’m talking real golf ADD stuff, y’all. I knew I should have ordered a beer instead of that orange Gatorade I had left still unopened at the range when my foursome was called – that was almost as bad as was leaving my golf shoes back at the house. But a complete inability to see the shots I was trying to make and then execute them – why, that was just the equivalent of a slow death by fifty-five paper cuts.

55. I mean, at some point you just have to admit when you’re beaten. There comes a time where you just have to admit that your golf game is a fickle lover and you’re simply not getting out of the relationship what you’ve been putting into it; that you’re just not capable of the kind of get-around-the-course skill a round of golf requires – something quite different from beating balls on a driving range with nothing at stake. I was at what Roy McAvoy called in the movie Tin Cup, a defining moment: either you define the moment or the moment defines you.

As I heard the other twosome pulling up I knew I had either get my sh*t together – and pronto! – or risk slinking back home with yet another big number to enter into the Goodboys’ MyScorecard.com handicap system. Going into today’s round, MyScorecard.com informed me that if I wanted to lower my handicap (presently, 25.8) I would have to shoot a 97. The fact I had already tallied 55 strokes, and after only nine holes, made that a highly unlikely proposition.

I found myself thinking about what Phil Mickelson would do in a case like this. The thing I like and respect most about Phil is that he’s never afraid to tell it like it is. He puts up a big number and he’ll respond to a questioner saying he’s got no other choice but to post a 64 or 65 the next day. I’m sure in my situation he’d say the only thing to do is recognize the situation for what it is and just try to go as low as I could, leaving nothing behind. It was either go low by committing myself to two hours and nine holes of completely-focused golf and getting around the course in as few strokes as possible, or go home.

Reaching for a couple of new balls out of my bag, I saw I still had a half-dozen orange Wilson 50s I used to play regularly that were now reserved for chipping and putting around the Kokopelli and Superstition Springs driving ranges. And it occurred to me at that moment that I really didn’t deserve to be playing those lovely white Callaway Hex Hots Tracey had given me for Christmas – heck, I had already lost two of them today. Outside of Pornanong Phatlum and a couple others on the LPGA Tour, orange balls are considered for dufuses, but that’s where I found myself at that time – smack dab in the center of Dufusville. It was time to admit defeat, recognize what I was and am as a golfer, and simply accept things for what they were.

But I wasn’t going to go down without a fight.

I teed up one of the orange Wilsons on the par 5 10th and striped it down the middle. Immediately, I felt myself begin to relax. It’s kind of weird to say, but I felt at home playing a ball that was, and could only ever be, The Great White Shank’s. One of the guys made a joke about me resorting to orange balls to turn my round around, but he wasn’t laughing when I sank a two-footer for par. And then, on the par 3 11th, sank another two-footer for par. After my par-par-bogey-par start he even joked about switching to orange balls himself. And that’s the way it would be for my back nine, solid play marred only by a triple-bogey seven on 7 when I briefly resorted to sloppy mode and couldn’t get out of trouble after a wayward tee shot that had barely missed the fairway.

I ended up parring three of the last four holes to shoot a 43 – my second-best nine-hole total of all time – to post a 98 made the hard way. Not sure where exactly this leaves me – there is clearly still a lot of work to do. For the first time in my golf life it’s a not question of shot-making – with Alex Black’s help I’m striking the ball better than I ever have – but whether I have the mental game to string 18 holes of golf together at a time is the question. And I’m not sure I have enough orange Wilsons to get me beyond the next round or two in order to find out. But I at least proved to myself that when the going got tough I could find a way to get into Billy Ocean mode. And that’s a positive I can take away from my round.

Three months away from the 2014 Goodboys Invitational and I’m still trying to figure things out.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 01:54 | Comments (0)
No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment


goodboys.jpg


Search The Site



Recent Items

Categories

Archives
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006


Blogroll

Syndication

4 Goodboys Only

Site Info