Life continues to be fairly boring. Well, at least in our house. There is obviously plenty going on in the world, and I’m feeling the urge to revive my Covid posts.
This weekend was especially boring, thanks to plenty of much-needed rain most of the day Saturday and then on Sunday morning. S has been busy trying to knock out Downton Abbey before it leaves Amazon Prime this week. I finished up a show I’ll write about next week. And we are getting the house ready to have some visitors later this week.
With that lack of material, I might as well write a bit about my latest round of golf.
You may recall my previous round was awful. I could barely hit the ball, it was going hard right with every club, and I was thoroughly discouraged.
In the time between rounds I corrected an issue with my grip and did some exercises to get my swing path more inside-out. All this was backyard stuff; I refused to go to a driving range because I wanted to take a break from hitting a big bucket of balls. Little 10-15 minute sessions with foam balls, the practice net, and then some chipping.
How did all that work out?
Well, I think I played the best round I’ve ever played, at least tee-to-green, last Thursday.
I shot an 86 on my home course, which I will remind you is a pretty easy track. I played with a couple random guys who I met up with at the first tee. It was a weird experience: it was the first time I’ve ever clearly been the best player in my group. One guy was just learning how to play and was pretty brutal. But he was out there and trying to have fun, so respect to him. The other guy only played nine holes with us, and he shot in the low 50s. He wasn’t terrible, just not consistent. He was where I was about a year ago. He was also good company and we exchanged numbers and he may pull me into a group of guys he plays with regularly.
So, all that work on my swing, what were the results? I hit driver off the tee on 13 holes. I had four slices, but those were all much less severe than the previous week. The remaining nine tee shots were long and straight. In a few cases very long. Relying on my phone’s GPS, which isn’t as accurate as a range finder, I was consistently hitting my drives 260–280 yards.
On the 12th hole I caught every last bit of the ball, placed it perfectly at the top of the hill in the fairway, caught the downslope, and the ball rolled and rolled and rolled. In fact it went right through the group in front of us, which I thought was well out of reach. By my phone’s measure, the drive went 345 yards. THREE FUCKING FORTY FIVE! Naturally I hit my approach shot a little fat so had to chip on and then curl in a bending 15-footer to get my par.
I chipped in for birdie on 16.
I hit the two best iron shots of my life, a six iron from 170-ish that went over a line of trees and landed safely on the green about 15 feet from the pin and a four iron from 205 and was long, true, and landed three inches above the edge of a bunker and somehow did not roll down into it. My line was just off on this second shot but it was a gorgeous shot in the air.
I began the year with a goal of parring or birdie-ing every hole at my home course. That took a bit of a hit when I couldn’t play for three months. But I added three more notches to that list Thursday (two pars, one birdie) and have now checked off 12 holes through just four rounds. I’m intentionally avoiding noting what holes I still need to check off so I don’t get in my head about them the next time I play that course.
My putter was what let me down Thursday. It’s not that I putted poorly, it’s just that I was consistently missing under the hole. I had at least six putts miss by less than three inches, and because they were inside the break and the greens were dry and fast, I was leaving myself with 4–6 foot second puts instead of tap ins. I really hurt myself on the par 3 eighth, where I had about 60 feet for my first putt…and I putted past the hole and off the green. Second putt was short then I missed a very makable third putt before tapping in for a 5. Yeesh.
Those putting woes did not bring me down, though. I was thrilled with how I hit the ball, especially after I had been so lost a week earlier. The 86 is my new low score. The list of glaring errors was smaller than it usually is. I’m trying hard to realize that there are always going to be mishits, chunked chips, and misreads on the greens. That’s true for golfers with single-digit handicaps. The key is to both minimize them and be able to recover. Take a big piece of turf and watch your ball bounce about 30 yards down the fairway? That happens. Relax and make the next shot better, don’t let it turn into two or three duffed balls. I feel like I did that Thursday.
Again, I temper my enthusiasm based on the course. But I felt great after this round.
Speaking of handicaps, I finally joined Indiana Golf and have begun plugging in my scores for a handicap. Right now I have two full rounds and a 9-hole round in the system. I believe you need five 18-hole rounds before the computer cranks out your handicap. So I should have confirmation of a number in a few weeks.
I’m excited about the week ahead. S’s sister from Denver and her family are coming in for the holiday weekend. My brother-in-law and I are scheduled to play a couple rounds while they are here. He’s in the 4–5 range for his index. We’ve talked a lot about golf for the past year but this will be our first chance to play together. I’m looking forward to playing a couple new courses, although unfortunately the two courses I most wanted to play are either packed because of the holiday or shut down because of activity at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His 10-year-old son is going to play with us one day. And we’ll likely take L to the pitch and putt course one day. Hoping at least some of my game from last week is present this week.