Saturday, March 14, 2015

Tournament Review - 3/14/2015 - Cowan's Ford Golf Club at Lake Norman (Stanley, NC)

I spent all week looking at weather reports for Saturday.  One minute it would say no rain, the next minute, they were saying an inch per hour of rain.  In the end, I woke up Saturday morning to an absolute downpour.  I figured there was no way we'd be playing, but I checked the website anyway... and it was posted that the rain was going to clear out just prior to our 1:30 shotgun start... so I got myself ready.  I prepared rain gear... rain gloves, extra socks, extra towels, water resistant jacket, rain pants... I was set.  

As I left my house for the 50 minute drive north, it was still pouring.  A local amusement park was covered in fog and I could only see the bottom-third of roller coasters.  The further north I drove, however, the more it cleared up.  By the time I arrived to the course, about 90 minutes before our tee time, it had slowed to barely a drizzle.  I checked in, grabbed a bag of balls and headed to the range.

Last week, I posted the video above.  I noticed that I tend to stand REALLY far away from the ball.  I started taking some swings in my living room, starting with the 'ball' closer to me.  It felt much better... so when I got to the range that afternoon... I hit balls like that, and it made a world of difference.  My slice was now a nice little fade.  I also gained about 5 yards with each of my irons... and some shots were even more than that.  

After I was warmed up, I practiced some chipping and then headed to the putting green.  The one thing I didn't practice was my bunker shots.  I don't typically have too many issues in bunkers.  That said, I haven't really played in rain-packed bunkers, so I should have spent a FEW minutes in the practice bunker.  All-in-all, I spent about 60 minutes warming up... and then I had about a 20 minute wait until we teed off.  Just before, we were told it was lift, clean and place through the green (except bunkers, which had drained just fine).  I don't tend to take advantage of those situations, but looking at the course... it seemed like I was going to have no option but to find a 'dry' spot on the course to place my ball after each shot.

I started on the 16th hole.  My recap is below.

Scorecard Link

Game Golf Link - Cowan's Ford - 3/14/2015

Hole #16 - Par 4 - 370 Yards

This hole is a bit of a dogleg to the right.  Seeing as how it was so wet out, I abandoned my plan to hit my hybrid off that tee, figuring I'd need a driver to get me in a decent spot.  Unfortunately, I didn't hit my driver at the range because only the range mats were available.  I topped my drive... badly.  It dribbled out to about 75 yards, but it was in a good spot and I was able to advance my hybrid about 190 yards up into the fairway.  This left me about 120 to the hole.  My 9 iron was hit well and flew to the back of the green and bounced off (if you're looking at my Game Golf recap, I didn't fix the position.  It flew directly over the pin and off the back of the green.)  As I said, I was hitting the ball slightly further than I had been.  My chip was woefully short and I needed 2 putts from 27 feet to open with a double bogey.  

Hole #17 - Par 3 - 166 Yards

I caught the ball a little thin off this tee and it moved right of my target.  I was able to putt from the fringe, however, and I got the ball within 6 feet.  There was a line on the green from the rain that pretty much showed me my exact line to the hole.  I hit the ball on that line, but at the last second, it dipped below the hole and stopped a foot away.  I tapped in for my bogey.

Hole #18 - Par 5 - 529 Yards

This was a severe dogleg right and I knew I'd put my driver through the fairway, so I laid back with my hybrid.  I split the fairway and left myself a clear shot to my layup spot.  I was trying to get to about 150 yards with my layup, and my 4 iron was hit perfectly.  It left me about 145 to the hole with the breeze at my back.  I figured my 8 iron, with the breeze, would be perfect.  Again, I hit the ball right on line... but it went long.  I ended up about 20 yards long, off the back of the green.  Again, I was able to putt from there and again, I got myself to about 6 feet with the lag.  I just made a bad putt and missed it low, so I tapped in for another bogey.  

Hole #1 - Par 5 - 475 Yards

This hole was playing into a stiff breeze of about 8 MPH... but they moved the tees up a ridiculous amount.  According to my GPS, it was about 403 yards from the tee to the middle of the green.  I hit a drive that I thought was crushed.  It was a center-of-the-face shot... but it got up high in the air and just floated there.  All 4 of our drives in the group finished within a 4 yard circle of each other.  When I got up there, the ball went nowhere.  Game Golf measured it at 183, but it also had me teeing off from a tree (and I didn't see it until after I signed the round).  It was actually about a 200 yard drive, but still... it was short.  I had over 200 to the green and I hit a hybrid on a rope.  It landed just short of the green and stuck there.  I putted from there to about 8 feet.  My birdie putt was smashed and never had a shot.  I made the 6 footer coming back down the hill for par.

Hole #2 - Par 4 - 358 Yards

This was listed as the #1 handicap hole on the card.  We had the wind at our backs so my drive had some help.  I ended up splitting the fairway and plugging at 248 yards out.  My 9 iron from there was fat and came up short, off the front of the green.  I had an opening to putt, but I completely botched that and barely got the ball onto the green.  I left myself 25 feet for a par attempt and missed that low.  My 3 footer from there dropped and I carded a bogey.

Hole #3 - Par 3 - 168 Yards

I had been playing decent up to this hole.  It is a fairly easy hole... the pin was cut up front and it was playing about 162 yards with a wind helping and from the right.  I hit a poor 6 iron that started right and hung out there.  It landed in the bunker on that side of the green.  What shouldn't have been too tough of a shot turned into a huge mess.  My first swing had me blade the ball into the lip of the trap, and it rolled back down.  My next swing, I hit it really thin and it flew about 60 yards out of there and well over the green.  I hit a flop shot from there to about 37 feet and then three-putted to post a 7.  With the triple-bogey max club rule, it was dropped to a 6.  Still... all-around ugly.

Hole #4 - Par 4 - 320 Yards

This was one of the easier holes on the course.  It was short... and wide open.  I decided to get aggressive and try to leave myself a 50-60 yarder for my approach.  I swung way too hard and pulled my driver well left.  Luckily, it was wide open over there.  I had about 110 to the hole but my swing from the rough was heavy and it came up short of the green.  My chip up was chunked and left off the green.  I was able to putt from there to 7 feet and I made that for a bogey.

Hole #5 - Par 5 - 502 Yards

This was another par 5 that played straight into the wind.  Unfortunately, they didn't help us out at all here.  In fact, they moved the tees back about 20 yards, so it was playing more like 525 yards... and that's not accounting for the wind.  My drive was hit well again, but came up short of where I was hoping to be.  It was measured at 200 yards.  I hit a fat 4 iron that I advanced just about 110 yards and left me around 220 yards to the pin.  I hit a low (very low) hybrid that ran all the way up just short of the green, and then I had my worst putting issues of the round.  I putted from off the green between 2 sprinkler heads.  I was more concerned with getting it between those than I was with the distance of the putt, so I got it onto the green, but about 23 feet short.  I made a mess of it from there.  I went about 8 feet by with my first attempt, and then I missed it low from there, finally tapping in for a double bogey.

Hole #6 - Par 4 - 353 Yards

More sand trouble on this hole, which ultimately probably cost me a shot at winning the C Flight.  I hit a solid drive on a line just over some trees on the left.  It got caught up in the rough over there, but I had an open swing to the green from there.  I hit my approach wedge a little thin and it went long.  That's typically a 100 yard club for me, but because I caught it so thin, it went deep and landed in a bunker.  My first attempt out hit the lip again.  My second attempt was thin and flew over the green into the trap on the opposite side.  I was finally able to get onto the green from there, but I left myself 24 feet and I two-putted from there for a triple-bogey.

Hole #7 - Par 3 - 141 Yards

This was playing slightly longer than the distance on the card... about 160 yards or so.  I got steep with my 6 iron here and it was fat and well short.  I played a nice little pitch from around 50 yards that got to within 6 feet and I was able to make that for a par.

Hole #8 - Par 4 - 377 Yards

I hit the purest drive of my day on this hole, but I pulled it slightly.  It settled into the rough 261 yards from the tee, and there was a stand of trees in front of me that I couldn't play over.  I decided to try and punch a 6 iron under those trees and run it up just short of the green.  I gave it too much and the ball ran up into a bunker.  From the back of the bunker, bladed into the lip and it stayed in the bunker.  I got out from there to about 15 feet short of the hole.  I was angry at that point and I didn't give the putt my full attention, missing short.  I made the 2 foot putt for double bogey.

Hole #9 - Par 4 -367 Yards

I made an extremely angry swing on the tee here and hooked the ball.  I never saw it off the tee, but everybody else did and we were able to find it beneath some trees up on the left side.  I had a tree between me and the green, but it wasn't a problem.  It was a full 8 iron from where I was, but I didn't bring that club with me when I walked across the hole from the cart.  I thought it was further back, so I had a 6 iron or a 7 iron with me.  I opened up my 7 iron a little bit and choked down... but I didn't catch the ball properly and I flipped it weakly into the fairway well short of the green.  Another fat chip from short of the green left me with a putter from the fringe that I got to about 5 feet of the hole.  I just missed that and tapped in for a double bogey.

** NOTE - I was able to post a 51 (dropped to a 50) for my front nine.  That included 3 doubles and 2 triples.  I felt like I had played better than that, but when it was all added up... there I was.  I had 6 holes to play and I was just hoping to post a score under 100.  

Hole #10 - Par 4 - 407 Yards

This hole played uphill for the tee shot, and from there, it went back downhill.  It was playing directly into the wind and the sun and I never saw the ball after it left the club face.  I was told it was down the middle, and when we got up to the top of the hill, it was in the fairway.  I was left with about 160 to the pin.  I hit a 6 iron down the hill and it LOOKED like it hit short of the green, but when we got up there, my ball was 18 feet short of the hole on the green.  My putt was pure, but despite peeking into the cup, it didn't drop.  It ran about 2 feet by and I made that for my par.  

Hole #11 - Par 3 - 189 Yards

There was quite a wait on this tee.  When we reached the tee, the group in front of us hadn't teed off yet.  About 15 minutes later, we were set to go.  It was playing about 200 yards with the pin in the back of the green and I hit a low hybrid that was RIGHT on line with the pin.  It hit the green and ran all the way to the back.  I was about 6 feet from the closest-to-the-pin marker on that hole, but I still had about 24 feet down the hill from the back of the green.  My putt settled on the lip of the hole but would NOT drop.  I tapped that in for another par.

11th Hole

Hole #12 - Par 4 - 356 Yards

The last of my sand troubles came on this hole.  I hit a solid drive up the right side of the fairway, leaving me a perfect angle to the pin on the front-left side of the green.  I had about 105 to the hole, but my approach wedge was flared right.  I thought it was deep and over the bunker at the front of the green, but I couldn't find the ball.  When I finally decided to look in the bunker, it was there.  Crap!  Of course, I had troubles.  I bladed it long out of there over the green beneath a tree.  I played a nearly-perfect flop from there that rolled down towards the pin and stopped 5 feet away.  I made that for a 'good' bogey.

Hole #13 - Par 4 - 325 Yards

This hole had a creek running down the left side and across the fairway, so playing a driver was out of the question.  I hit a hybrid a little thin and left, but it found the fairway and left me about 150 to the hole.  I had hit my 7 iron poorly earlier in the round, so I didn't have much confidence in it, but I decided to play well towards the left side of the green because there was a drop off from the right side of the green into a pond.  Of course, I hit another poor 7 iron that sliced wildly on me.  It hit the front of the green and bounced to the right and rolled off the green, over the wall and into the hazard below that wall.  I dropped and hit manageable pitch to about 12 feet.  I sank that right-to-left putt for another 'good' bogey save.

Hole #14 - Par 4 - 331 Yards

Being on the course for close to 6 hours already, I was getting tired.  I just wanted to keep it together for the last 2 holes.  For the first time all day, a hit a drive right.  It started at the right side of the fairway and just faded a little bit.  It carried the fairway bunker and left me a clear shot to the green.  My approach wedge from about 95 yards hit the front of the green and stayed there (first time all day a shot stuck and didn't advance on the green).  I had about 36 feet from there and I two-putted for a par.

Hole #15 - Par 5 - 500 Yards

Last hole... and it was the wettest hole of the day.  Looking down from the elevated tee box, it looked like you were hitting into a lake, pretty much.  I hit another towering drive that didn't go nearly as far as I felt it was going to go.  It hit the ground and plugged immediately.  I had about 250 yards to go and I had no intentions of trying anything stupid.  I hit a 4 iron that left me a perfect distance for a sand wedge from the lake, errr... fairway.  My sand wedge hit the green and backed up (another first for the day) to about 13 feet from the hole.  My putt looked good but ran by the edge and left me 3 feet, which I made to close out the round with a par.

** NOTE - I played my final 6 holes in +2 and I posted a 42 for the back nine overall.  By the time we got to the scoring area, I saw that I was posted in 3rd place.  The last group that came in had someone post a 90 for C Flight, so I finished in 4th place only 2 strokes back.  Thinking back over the round, it was all the swings from the sand that hurt me.  I was extremely happy to have placed a decent score for once and I was ecstatic to walk away with the $50 Edwin Watts Gift Card for my efforts.  There is now a 2 week break until the next tournament and I will be flying to Dallas for work next week... so I probably won't get onto the course until next Thursday or Friday for some practice.  

Round Stats

  • Score - 93 (Club Adjusted to 92)
  • Penalty Strokes - 1
  • Putts - 34
  • Fairways - 8 of 14
  • Greens in Regulation - 5 of 18
  • Up and Downs - 1 of 5
  • Sand Saves - 0 of 4

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