May 31, 2019

Target Handicap: 20.0
Location: Kokopelli Golf Club
Score: 42 + 47 = 89 Handicap: 26.0 / Change: (-1.0)

OK, I have to admit I didn’t see this one coming. I wasn’t even on planning to play, but a doctor’s appointment left the rest of my day wide open so I headed back to Kokopelli Golf Course, that sporty track where I shot a 109 a couple of weeks ago. The course was pretty empty when I arrived, so rather than warm up with a small bucket (with a high of 98 the day was going to be plenty warm enough as it was), I grabbed a cart and headed for the first tee.

While waiting for the twosome in front of me to clear the dogleg right (#1 is a 489-yard par 5) I committed myself to my plan: stick to what I’ve been working on, and no over-swinging. That was it – the goal was to let whatever happened, happen. A solid driver and equally solid 5-wood left me just thirty yards from the pin, and an all-too-familiar three-putt from sixteen feet led to a bogey. But after that I just felt myself fall into a quasi-groove, and I made par on five of the next six holes:

* On #2 (par 3, 184 yards), an OK 4-hybrid just off the green left and two putts for par.
* On #3 (a short 319-yard par 4), a pushed 5-iron left followed by a thinly-hit 3-hybrid to twenty feet and two putts.
* On #5 (373-yard par 4) caught a fairway, 5-iron over the green, chipped on, one putt.
* On #6 (184-yard par 3) pushed a 4-hybrid left, chipped on, one putt.
* On #7 (340-yard par 4) caught another fairway, 9-iron to twelve feet, two putts.

I bogeyed both #s 8 (a long 552-yard par 5) and #9 (missed a two-foot putt for par) for a 42, matching my all-time best nine-hole score. The biggest difference from the last few times out? My short game showed up and I made some putts for a change – only 13 on the front – an indication that I was chipping well. My ball-striking was OK enough, I just played smart and didn’t make a whole lot of mistakes.

There was no one in front of me when I teed off on #10, so before I hit got my iPhone out and asked Siri to queue up my surf music mix. Anytime you can have a beautiful day and an open golf course in front of you, I mean how good is that?

I started the back nine with a bogey five on #10, then on #11 (a tight 331-yard par 4) my drive was pulled right but I executed a 7-iron off a bony lie to six feet. Missed the birdie putt but made par. On #12 (a 407-yard par 4) I caught another fairway and hit an 8-iron to twelve feet. Missed that birdie putt but made another par. On #13 (a short 324-yard par 4) I made my first real mistakes of the day. I had only 112 yards to the pin and pulled a 9-iron way left. Chipped on and missed a four-footer for bogey. Then, on #14 (175-yard par 3) a 5-iron left me twenty feet for par. Got my first putt to three feet, then proceeded to three-putt from that distance for a double-bogey five. Ouch! My play on #s 15 (a 505-yard par 5 with water all down the left) and #16 (a pedestrian 345-yard par 4) was rather sloppy, but I grinded out a bogey and double-bogey, respectively before a rocking-chair bogey on the par 3 #17 and double-bogeying #18 for a 47.

Two weeks ago I played the same course and shot a 109. So how does one improve their score by a whopping twenty strokes in that time? It’s just golf. Clearly, I did everything today just a little bit better than I (obviously) did two weeks ago. Without a doubt, my short game (with the exception of that four-putt on #14) was a whole lot better, and that helped out immensely. It might sound strange, but even though I hit seven fairways today, I don’t really feel as if I hit my driver all that well – I could never really catch a feel. And the same held true with my irons – while I hit a number of quality shots, I never felt like I was in any kind of a groove. And it’s also true I got some very good bounces today, but that’s what happens, I think, when you’re playing fairly well.

There’s still work to do, most especially hitting my irons and hybrids off a tee – for some reason I just have a propensity to over-swing. That’s something I’d like to see improvement on before Goodboys Invitational weekend. But any time I can break ninety, boy, I’ll take it! It’s just not something I’ll count on seeing me do anytime soon. For The Great White Shank, all the golf stars have to be in alignment in order to do that. Today they were, which is why I call it “sucker golf”.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 21:35 | Comments Off on Sucker Golf
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