June 29, 2019

Target Handicap: 20.0
Location: Stonecreek Golf Club
Score: 49 + 54 = 103
MyScorecard.com Handicap: 27.4 / Change: (+0.6)

“Awww…f**k it.” So there I was, back at the Stonecreek G.C. driving range just one week after last week’s meltdown. The day was going to be hot and oppressive – 110 with some humidity (not a great combination) – but after last week I just felt the urge to return to the scene of the crime. I started warming up doing all the things I had decided to do from my “Mr. Fix-it” post from last Sunday, and, guess what, none of them were working. My group had an 8-minute call to thee first tee, so just for yucks I grabbed my 5-iron and went back to the same swing I’ve been using for the past two months. A couple of decent swings later, out the door went Mr. Fix-it and I was back to what I was doing before.

(Y’see, the problem really is that I don’t trust my swing enough to stay on top of the ball and make that one-piece turn (shoulders, chest, hips) possible that will deliver the clubface square to the ball. Instead, I know I am getting out of sync and swaying back, which brings the bottom of my swing somewhere between 1-3 inches behind the ball which can lead to thin hits and skulls. But when I do it right, I’m making great contact and see great results. I also know I’m just a couple of months into this and it’s going to take time to break bad habits. I probably won’t have it down for Goodboys Invitational weekend, but we shall see!)

Just like last week, I got off to a h-o-t start. Found the fairway at #1 and converted a nice 152-yard GIR opportunity with a solid 6-iron over the pond to twelve feet that just missed going in for birdie. And just like last week, I hit a crappy second shot on #2 after a serviceable drive, skulling a 3-hybrid just short of the creek. But I made a nice swing with a 7-iron to six feet, then missed what would have been a great par for bogey five. I made a lousy swing with a 5-iron off the tee on #3 (I wouldn’t replicate those nice last few 5-irons on the driving range once during the round, which still pisses me off) and triple-bogeyed that par 3 before bogeying #4 and double-bogeying the par 3 #5 (par 3s are really causing me trouble right now!) before heading to the par 4 #6.

The par 4 #6 is the #1 handicap hole on the course – waste area right with a pond protecting the green behind it, pond on left, and a creek running across the fairway linking the two ponds. Like last week, I pushed my drive left. Unlike last week, however, I didn’t flub the lay-up shot although I still had 156 yards to the pin. What to do, what to do? I knew I wasn’t hitting my 5-iron that well, so I made the decision to grab 4-hybrid and leave things all to chance. Caught it good (really good, actually) and flew the pond five yards off the green. I had a tricky downhill lie in a swaley area but was able to get enough clubhead on a sand wedge and put it on the green to two-putt and walk away with a very satisfying double-bogey. (Anytime I can finish #6 with the same ball I started is a very good thing, indeed!)

Things got sloppy on #s 7-9. On the par 5 #7 I had a great drive and could have gotten a little more on a 7-iron lay-up that left me 205 yards from the pin. Unfortunately, I yanked my 5-wood into the woods before chipping on and two-putting for another double-bogey. On the short par 4 #8 I pushed my drive left leaving me a yardage to the pin I couldn’t figure out, and my Bushnell range finder was giving me what I knew a wrong number (it wouldn’t be the first time today!). I guessed 137 yards and left myself a chip of 20 yards which I caught too flush, leading to a 3-putt and another double-bogey. On the par 4 #9, I pushed another drive left, then butchered a 5-iron punch to get out of trouble that left me in a waste area 120 yards from the pin. I decided to go for it (why not?) and sliced it into a sand trap that I got out and two-putted for another double bogey – three straight holes, three unforced errors. I was happy enough with the 49 (after last week, who wouldn’t?) but I knew I left a good six shots out there.

I started the back nine OK with a great drive that left me only 146 yards from the pin and converted my second GIR opportunity with a nice 6-iron to sixteen feet which I proceeded to three-putt for bogey. Another sloppy attempt at a 5-iron punch out of trouble on #11 resulted in a triple-bogey seven. On the par 3 #12 I pushed a 4-hybrid way left and should have taken my mulligan, but I figured I’d find it (I didn’t) then butchered the rest of the hole for a triple-bogey 6. (That par 3 Friday event at Goodboys weekend ought to be a blast!). I was really pissed at this point and it took me a few moments to compose myself.

…which I did on the par 5, 518 yard next hole by splitting the fairway with my drive, then crushing a 5-wood to 10 yards in front of the green. Made a lovely chip to 3 feet then sunk it for a birdie four (Yessss!). My Bushnell failed me again on #14, telling me I had 150 yards to the pin when I was at least ten yards in front of the 150-yard stake. My indecision led to a pushed 7-iron left and my first failed GIR opp of the day. On the par 3 #15 I thinned a 5-iron (sonofabitch!), then skulled a sand wedge to the back of the green before two-putting for a double-bogey 5. More sloppy golf.

And that’s how the rest of the round would go. I butchered the par 5 #6 with a series of poor swings (driver, 5-wood, a 5-iron dunked in the pond for a triple-bogey 8), then did the same on the par 4 #17 (driver, 5-iron OB off a tree, then another 5-iron) before two poor chips led to my only quad-bogey of the day. I finished up on #18 with a so-so drive but a decent lay-up before spoiling a decent 7-iron with a 3-putt for a double-bogey six. It was a grinding back nine with only two really bad holes, but by then the heat was really getting oppressive and everyone was just happy to get off the damned course.

I’m not pleased about my handicap index going up like it did after today’s round, but I really need to figure out a way to tighten up my game on a number of fronts: I only hit five fairways today (quite poor), but I’m killing myself on the par 3s and any iron play off the tee. Sure, there were some sloppy holes out there, but that’s a norm I’ve learned to live with. The 36 putts I made could have been a little better, but until I start hitting my irons more consistently I can’t really expect to shoot better scores. Fortunately, I’ll have one more range session before I play my traditional Goodboys send-off round at Superstition Springs in two weeks’ time. I’m happy I improved my score at Stonecreek by a whopping fourteen strokes over last week’s round (who but The Great White Shank can do such a thing?) but there remains more work to do.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 20:12 | Comments Off on Clawing Back From The Abyss
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