June 8, 2019

Target Handicap: 20.0
Location: Trilogy Golf at Power Ranch
Score: 51 + 51 = 102
MyScorecard.com Handicap: 26.8 / Change: (+0.8)

The last eighteen-hole round of golf here in Arizona before Goodboys Invitational weekend, and my head is still shaking after a day of missed opportunities. No way did I think I had another 89 in me (as I shot last week) when I teed it up at Trilogy Power Ranch on a warm Saturday morning, but I also didn’t think I would shoot such a disappointing score after having arguably my best driving day of the year.

Golf is a funny game. Two weeks ago I had those “infield fly rule” pop-ups creep into my driver, and I never thought I’d ever be able to hit that club ever again – that’s how lost I felt. Today, I hit eight fairways and just barely missed a few more. But the number of fairways hit doesn’t tell the story. You know what tells the story? The fact I had seven – count ’em, seven – green-in-regulation opportunities (meaning, I’m standing in the fairway with an iron in my hand and the opportunity to hit the green in two on par 4s, or in three on the par 5s). Seven opportunities to make birdie at best, par most likely, or bogey at worst. And how many did I convert? One.

It’s so frustrating. Last week at Kokopelli, I drove the ball OK but it was my iron play that really made the difference. This week it wasn’t until the 17th hole – a softly-faded 6-iron into a crosswind from 147 yards – where I hit an iron onto a green. Before that, I couldn’t hit an iron to save my life. And the same with my Cobra 4-hybrid, which is about ready to be consigned to the deepest recesses of my garage closet to join his brother 3-hybrid. I can’t toss my 6-iron out because it’s a beautiful club, but today I couldn’t hit it. Couldn’t hit any iron, for that matter – everything was thin or skulled. I think I figured out way too late that I wasn’t staying on top of the ball and turning my hips, but who knows? It’s just damned disappointing to have so many chances at GIR and perform so poorly. I played those seven holes +15, including two quad bogeys and two triple bogeys.

The first missed GIR, on the short par 4 #2 wasn’t so bad – my 170-yard drive left me dead center of the fairway and 146 yards to the pin. I skulled a 6-iron to 60 yards, but couldn’t get a pitching wedge on the green. I two-putted for a double-bogey six. But it was on the 364-yard #5 that things went beyond absurd. A blistered (for me) 214-yard drive left me with 150 yards left-center of the fairway. I pulled 6-iron again and pushed it short and left of the green. I then yanked a sand wedge (another club that is causing me grief) into the sand bunker right. It took me three tries to get the ball out before two-putting for quad-bogey snowman. (BTW, I’d also push another 6-iron from a perfect position in the middle of the fairway on #9 into a pond left, leading to a triple-bogey seven.

What was frustrating about all this is that I couldn’t identify the problem and fix it. Which was too bad, because all day I hit my driver and 5-wood very solidly – perhaps the best I hit both clubs all year. My short game wasn’t as tight as it was last week at Kokopelli, but I’ve come to expect that there will be good days and bad. The 34 putts I made wasn’t awful, but once again I missed two putts from a foot out – something that has plagued me all year.

The back nine was a carbon-copy of the front nine. I was in GIR position on a four out of five hole stretch (13-17) and made triple, par (on a long par 5, no less), quad, and another par. The quad was especially offensive: after a 240-yard drive (best of day) I had 6-iron (again) in my hand. I skulled it into a waste area of deep grass, got it out of the grass but was left with 60 yards to the pin. I skulled my pitching wedge over the back, duffed my attempt to chip back on (my only real poor chip of the day then three-putted (the last a foot-long). You can’t shoot good scores if you’re going to play golf like that – it’s the worst kind of sloppy golf, and after a while it just beats you down.

That’s looking at the glass half-empty. On the glass half-full side of the equation, the fact is that I gave myself all those GIR opportunities to begin with. Which tells me I am in a much better place than where I was even at the start of the year. The fact that I’m no longer satisfied with a pair of 51s tells me that I know inside I’m capable of so much more. Others may disagree, but that’s just the way I’ve come to see things.

I’ve played a lot of golf over the past two months, and with the real heat now here I don’t expect to do more than perhaps hit the range or play nine holes between now and Goodboys Invitational week. It’s been a roller-coaster ride: these changes I’ve committed to with my swing have their good moments and their bad. It’s just tough to go out and play and not know what parts of your game are going to be working and what ones aren’t. I still like the changes I’ve made and remain committed to them, but a day like today – an OK enough score that could have been so much better – still leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 21:03 | Comments (0)
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