November 24, 2018

Target Handicap: 20.0 Handicap: 27.0 / Change: (+0.1)
Location: Stonecreek Golf Club
Score: 54 + 59 = 113

What is it about Stonecreek Golf Club that troubles The Great White Shank so? Sure, there are a few tough holes where thinking and course management is essential, several holes with water, and a few holes that are tough, no question about it. But the course can be had – I just don’t know why it won’t have me.

I’d been hitting the ball so well over the past few weeks, both in practice and during my last couple of rounds that I just didn’t see today coming. Actually, it was a tale of two rounds: the first five holes, and the rest of the round. I only hit one really bad shot in the first holes – a 5-iron I’ll admit I didn’t commit to that went OB left when a 7-iron would have left me just short of the green for a chip and two-putt. Instead, two chips to get on (that would become a regular occurrence) and two putts (ditto) for a triple-bogey seven. On #2, after a serviceable drive and decent-enough 6-iron left just off the green left, it took another two swings to chip it on the green followed by four putts from twelve feet (sigh) I made quad-bogey eight. But I then went bogey / par / par on holes 3-5 and thought I had found myself a rhythm.

Hole #6 is the #1 handicap hole on the course – a tight par 4 with water left of the fairway, a long sandy waste area on the right side, and a pond protecting the front and right of the green. While my drive wasn’t great, I measured 185 yards to a big sand trap on the left side of the green which is typically my target. I thought about the shot a lot – everything from leaving a 5-iron just short of the green, to an easy 7-iron that would leave me even shorter of the green but on the fat “bridge” between the water left and water right, or a 4-hybrid aimed right at the big sand trap. I’d been hitting my hybrids so good in practice and my last time out at Trilogy Power Ranch that I pulled the 4-hybrid but yanked it on the ground into the sandy waste area. I had 150 yards over the pond to the pin – a shot I thought I could make, given how packed down the waste area was, but chunked the 6 -iron only fifty yards to the front of the waste area. I was now 100 yards from the pin. Surely, I could make this, right? Nope, I chunked that shot as well, dumping my pitching wedge into the pond. Which I then proceeded to also do with my drop. Quad-bogey blues.

After that, I just lost my way and fell into too many old, familiar bad habits: setting up too open, playing the ball too far forward in my stance, and swaying backward and finishing off on my back foot. It’s amazing just how quickly one can lose one’s confidence out there. And then my short game just fell completely apart – not only was I leaving all my chips short, but I never got anything close to the hole. Hence, lots of two putts, a couple three-putts, and zero looks at one-putts. All sense of touch and tempo gone like the wind.

The quintuple-bogey ten on the par 5 #16 sealed my fate: after a decent drive just off the fairway left, I yanked my 5-wood far right but just short of what go by woods around these parts. I did a good job laying up with a decent 5-iron to 124 yards just shy of a large pond protecting the green, but then yanked an 8-iron into the pond. After another occurrence of needing two tries to get on the green, I three-putted from ten feet. Funny how all those strokes add up.

There’s not much left to say. I’ll probably take a few days off before hitting a driving range somewhere to try and find my lost groove. Which I’m sure I can find. I also need to work harder on being more aggressive with my chipping – I was babying everything during my round at Stonecreek. Sure, the greens were fast, but I have to learn how to chip better if I want to score better. And the 38 putts I took today just has to be dealt with. Chipping better and closer to the pin would certainly help, but the fact is my putting technique is just poor right now – I have to make time to work on my putting, and pronto. Gee whiz. Too many facets of the game that need work right now.

Perhaps it’s better to just chalk it up as a bad day at the office.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 20:36 | Comments Off on A Bona Fide Ass-Whipping
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