Saturday, March 26, 2016

Charlotte Area Golfweek Amateur Tournament - 3/26/2016 - Country Club of Salisbury (Salisbury, NC)

As golfers, we all have courses we just seem to play better at than others.  Sometimes, there's an apparent reason... other times, it doesn't really make sense.  This was one of those courses for me that I played pretty well at... but I could not figure out why.  It's a tight course that requires a lot of well thought out shots and absolutely demands that you keep the ball in play off the tee, which is not exactly a strength of mine (as you know if you've been following along at all).

Anyway... because I had posted a pair of decent scores there last season... I was really looking forward to heading back to The Country Club of Salisbury and hopefully posting something respectable to get me some points in the standings.

Details of the round are below.

Hole #15 - Par 5 - 475 Yards

I really enjoy this hole.  At 475 yards, you would think it would be reachable... but in the 3 times I've played it (including this time), I've never even had a remote shot at getting there.  My drive was struck well, but just didn't have enough to carry the bunker up the left side.  This meant I had no play but to hack a 7 iron out of the bunker (from an up-slope) and back to the fairway.  I was left with about 190, so I hit a solid 4 iron that finished just left of the hole.  My pitch finished about 12 feet short.  I was unable to convert from there for par, so I settled for a bogey from 3 feet.

Hole #16 - Par 4 - 359 Yards

Unlike the previous hole... I really dislike this one.  I got in trouble early in my round, starting here.  My tee shot was slightly left and must have kicked hard off a bare area because when we got up to where we all thought my ball was... it was nowhere to be found.  It must have kicked out of bounds to the left.  I went back to the tee (drive of shame) and hit another ball, this time up the right side in the right rough.  I was left with about 140 yards... so I hit my 8 iron.  I pulled it badly and watched as it went out of bounds again.  At that point... I just picked up and took the triple bogey maximum on the hole to save myself from getting angrier than I already was.

Hole #17 - Par 3 - 172 Yards

My 6 iron from the tee was pulled and hooked... into a backyard... out of bounds.  My next shot was fat and right.  I hit a sand wedge on from there and then needed 2 putts from 21 feet for a second consecutive triple bogey.

Hole #18 - Par 4 - 360 Yards

I hit a big drive up the right side, but where the ball finished... I had no real play as I was blocked out by some trees.  I tried to get cute and hit a low 9 iron... but it got up too high too quickly and hit one of the tree branches, knocking it down next to the fairway bunker.  That left me about 55 yards from the hole.  I hit a decent sand wedge on the green but slightly deep.  Where the pin was cut, if I missed my putt even a few inches long, it was going to roll forever... and that's just what happened.  From about 25 feet, my putt went 26 feet... and then rolled down into the fairway, 35 yards from the hole.  It took me 2 strokes to get the ball to stay on the green... and then I made a 3 foot putt for another triple bogey.

Hole #1 - Par 4 - 348 Yards

Again, I hit a strong drive... but it was up the right side.  The ball actually finished on the 9th tee.  Between where my ball was and the green was a set of very large trees.  I basically had only 1 option, and that was to try and fly over the trees to the green.  I hit a pure pitching wedge from there, up over the trees and on to the green to about 14 feet.  It was a great feeling to execute that shot and I hoped it was going to spark my round.  Unfortunately, I three-putted from 14 feet for a bogey... but it was still better than the triple bogeys on the previous few holes!

Hole #2 - Par 4 - 354 Yards

This is a short little hole... and I wanted to make sure I didn't go out of bounds because it's fairly tight, so I hit a 4 iron from the tee.  I absolutely pured it and it put me in a good position up the left side of the hole.  I had about 145 to the flag... my 8 iron was a little left and a little deep, but I was on the green.  From 75 feet, I missed by about 7 feet to the right of the hole, but I was able to make that coming back up the slope for my first par of the round.

Hole #3 - Par 5 - 520 Yards

It got back to being ugly here.  My drive was up the right side.  I thought it was fine... but one of my playing competitors said they saw it kick to the right.  I hit a provisional, just to be safe... but that one went even further right and I KNEW that one was gone.  When we got up to where the original should have been... none of us saw a thing.  At that point, it wasn't worth making the trek back to try and make a natural triple bogey, so I picked up for the second time in the round and took a triple bogey maximum score again.

Hole #4 - Par 4 - 386 Yards

At this point, I was back to being angry.  Things got worse on this hole, however.  I tried to be safe, but I pull-hooked a 4 iron into the trees and then played hockey with the ball and my 4 iron up the left side.  By the time I finally got up to the ball and was able to put the ball into the hole... it was ANOTHER triple bogey on my scorecard.

Hole #5 - Par 4 - 358 Yards

Another short par 4... another 'safe' attempt with a 4 iron.  I pulled this one left, but I had a look at the green from where I was.  I was going to have to go high again... and I hit a solid 7 iron from where I was, but it came up just short.  I was left with a little pitch from in front of the green which I got to about 10 feet... but I could not get the par putt to fall, so I settled for a bogey.  At that junction in the round... I was just glad it wasn't another triple bogey.

Hole #6 - Par 3 - 165 Yards

The tee was moved up to about 135 yards, but the wind was strong into our faces... so I went with a 7 iron.  It was on the green, but at the back of it.  I was left with about 50 feet for my birdie attempt.  I didn't even get close and ultimately, I three-putted from 50 feet for a bogey.  Ugh.

Hole #7 - Par 4 - 400 Yards

Again, directly into the wind.  Luckily, the tees were moved up about 40 yards.  I absolutely smashed my drive from the tee... but it only went 239 yards.  I was still left with 130 or so to the hole.  I hit a solid 9 iron that finished in the fringe to the left of the green.  I putted from there and rolled the ball nicely to about 9 feet and I was finally able to convert a decent length putt for a par!

Hole #8 - Par 4 - 341 Yards

You'd have thought that I would have figured out how to stop being 'safe' by this point... but, I was still trying to make the smart plays.  My 4 iron was left (again) and ended up in a hazard.  I dropped within 2 club-lengths and was left with about 200 yards to go.  I needed to keep the ball low and have it run... so I hit a punched 3 wood that ran low and left.  I pitched on from about 35 yards left of the green and then needed 2 putts from 20 feet for a double bogey.

Hole #9 - Par 3 - 156 Yards

I hit an okay 6 iron from the tee that got hit by the wind and finished a bit off the right side.  Since I was in the short grass to the right of the hole, I figured I'd try to putt on... but I didn't do a very good job and left the ball in the fringe.  Again, I putted from there... this time to about 3 feet and then I tapped in for a bogey to close out the front side.

** NOTE - Despite the tough holes where I tripled... it wasn't all that bad on the front side.  I ended up posting a 47 for that side.  I knew that I had struggled so much early on that the remaining 5 holes on the back side were going to have to be special to have any shot at finishing inside the top 10... but that was still the goal.

Hole #10 - Par 4 - 350 Yards

I got away from being 'safe' and decided to be aggressive... and suddenly, I started bombing the ball with my driver.  From this tee, I hit as pure a drive as I'd hit all season.  It ended up in the center of the fairway, 291 yards from where it started.  I was left with a little wedge to the green.  Unfortunately, I hit it a little short of where I wanted to, but it was on the green.  From 54 feet, I needed 2 putts and I had myself a par.

Hole #11 - Par 4 - 385 Yards

Another bomb from this tee, this one a 302 yarder, left me about 80 yards or so to the flag.  I hit a gap wedge that was just a little too strong, but finished on the green.  My birdie attempt from 45 feet was left woefully short, and then I couldn't make the 9 footer for par... so I settled for an extremely disappointing tap-in bogey.

Hole #12 - Par 4 - 372 Yards

The third straight hole running in the same direction and another great drive.  This one wasn't quite as long (266 yards), but it left me in a good position up the left side.  Of course, I managed to make a mess of it from there.  My pitching wedge out of the rough from about 115 was slightly long.  I watched, with dismay, as my ball kicked off a mound at the back of the green and into a creek behind the green.  I had to drop from there and then it took me 2 shots to get on the green.  I ended up with a momentum killing triple bogey.

Hole #13 - Par 5 - 473 Yards

I hit another good drive, but because this one was into the wind a bit, it didn't give me an all-too-realistic shot at going for the green.  Still... I had about 220 left and I figured if I hit my 3 wood solidly... I could run it up there.  Instead, I pulled it left and into the river running down that side of the hole.  After my drop, I was left with a 7 iron into the wind from about 150.  I hammered the ball and it flew over the back of the green.  I pitched to about 15 feet... but couldn't make the bogey putt and wound up with a double bogey.

Hole #14 - Par 3 - 150 Yards

My final hole of the day, and it finished like it started.  I hit a solid 7 iron off the tee, but it was deep.  I then flubbed a chip that barely got onto the green.  From 27 feet, I didn't really get close at my par, and then I tapped in from about 3 feet for a bogey to close out my round.

** NOTE - The way I played the 10th and 11th holes... I had a little bit of hope... but once I hit that pitching wedge deep on the 12th... I knew it was over.  All momentum was gone.  My back nine score of 53 meant I posted a total of an even 100.  It put me in 14th place out of 20 entrants in C Flight and earned me an additional 80 points towards the season standings.  

The next tournament is next weekend at a course I missed playing last season, but I'm very much looking forward to.  Following that... I'm going away on vacation with my family for a week... so, between now and next weekend... I'll be working myself into vacation mode!

Until then!

Round Stats

  * Score - 103 (AGT Score of 100)

  * Course Handicap - 20
  * Net Score - 83 (AGT Net Score of 80)
  * Penalty Strokes - 8
  * Putts - 37
  * Fairways - 4 of 14
  * Greens in Regulation - 5 of 18
  * Up and Downs - 1 of 4
  * Sand Saves - 0 of 0

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Round Review - 3/22/2016 - Spring Lake Country Club (York, SC)

I knew I wanted to get back out on to the course at some point this week to ensure that I had some practice leading in to the next tournament on Saturday.  I woke up and it was a little cold, but I decided instead of heading to Tega Cay where I get most of my practice in, I'd head to Spring Lake Country Club.  I was there a few days ago and, although it's not in the greatest shape, it still offers a pretty decent test and requires a bunch of different shots to make it around.

I didn't figure it would be the best round of golf I've played so far in my life... but that's exactly what it turned out to be.  Read on below for all the details.

Hole #1 - Par 5 - 423 Yards

I got rushed out a little earlier than I had planned.  An older couple had pulled up while I was sitting in my cart and told me that the gentleman in the pro shop informed them that I could either go out ahead of them, join them, or play behind them.  They asked that I go out ahead because they didn't want to hold me up.

I put a tee in the ground and proceeded to blow one way right.  I never found it and played my provisional out of the woods on the right side with a 4 iron about 60 yards shy of the hole.  I hit a sand wedge a little shorter than I would have liked and came up on the front of the green.  From 25 feet, my putt didn't really scare the hole so I tapped in from about a foot right for a double bogey to open up.

Hole #2 - Par 3 - 202 Yards

I hit a very solid, very straight 4 iron from this tee.  Still, with the breeze and the cool air, I only managed to get on to the front of the green.  This left me a long, uphill putt for birdie from 39 feet.  I lagged it up nicely to about 2 feet and tapped in for a par on a fairly difficult hole.

Hole #3 - Par 4 - 385 Yards

This hole is a test for me.  It doesn't look like much, but the dogleg to the left means that I usually try and bail out right, which leaves a longer shot up a slight hill to the green.  That's exactly what happened here.  I hit a nice, drawing shot from the tee but it ran through the fairway up the right.  I was left with about 160 yards, but up a slight hill with the ball above my feet.  I hit a 5 iron that was right on target, but came up well short.  My pitch from the rough short of the green was poor, leaving me a 30 foot attempt at par which never got close and then another 2 footer which I made for bogey.

Hole #4 - Par 4 - 349 Yards

This is a wide open hole with the only real danger being the road down the left side.  Because a storm took down the net bordering the road, they cut this down to a par 3 of about 140 yards.  I played my ball from the fairway rather than a tee, for authenticity.  My 8 iron was directly on the pin, but another shot that was short on me.  My chip from shy of the green nearly went in, but left me yet another 2 footer.  I was able to make that for a par.

Hole #5 - Par 3 - 137 Yards

With the rangefinder, I pegged the pin at about 125 yards... and it was slightly downhill.  Because my previous few shots had come up shy, I decided to be safe and play the 9 iron instead of a pitching wedge.  I hit it right at the pin, but deep.  The ball settled on the fringe at the back of the green.  I had a fairly straightforward putt from there which settled to, you guessed it, 2 feet.  I made that for a second consecutive par.

Hole #6 - Par 5 - 462 Yards

This is a fun, reachable hole.  I hit a good, solid drive that found the middle of the fairway and left me 199 yards to the flag.  My ball was sitting down a bit in a bare spot on the fairway and I didn't get a solid shot at it with my hybrid.  I ended up topping the ball and watching it run to just shy of the green.  I was now in a muddy area short of the green, but I hit a good pitch shot that finished about 9 feet short of the hole.  I had a solid birdie opportunity, which I pulled left and long... and then I made my 5th consecutive 2 footer for a third consecutive par.

Hole #7 - Par 4 - 436 Yards

Ordinarily, this hole is a beast.  Today, there was a bit of a helping breeze.  Although I didn't hit the shot where I wanted, it ended up in a good spot.  A little bit of an over-draw on the ball had it click off the overhanging tree on the left.  I thought it dropped straight down below the tree, but it actually advanced a bit and left me about 185 to the hole.  My ball was in an old divot here, so I tried to stay down on the ball and I managed to hit a good shot that found the front of the green and then rolled off to the right side.  From the fringe, I putted up to about 5 feet.  This left me a testy little par attempt, but I was able to make it for a 4th straight par.

Hole #8 - Par 4 - 384 Yards

I hammered my drive off the tee here and it ran down in the fairway just shy of the drop off that would have rolled to within 80 yards.  I had about 105 to the pin and hit my approach wedge, but I caught it high on the face and it didn't get close.  I was left with a pitch about 20 yards shy of the green.  I got that to about 6 feet but couldn't convert the par attempt from there and tapped in for a bogey instead.

Hole #9 - Par 4 - 341 Yards

I knew that this hole required an iron from the tee, and I debated between a 4 iron and a 5 iron.  Ultimately, I went with the 5 iron.  I was looking for a shot that was going to land just beyond the tree on the right and settle into the fairway shy of the hazard.  I got really unlucky as I hit the shot I wanted, but the ball nipped a branch on that tree and kicked way right and into a hazard down the right side of the fairway.  I dropped from there and then hit a really poor, really thin 7 iron that finished up in the hazard in front of the green.  I took a drop that left me about 70 yards to the hole and hit a sand wedge to about 13 feet.  I couldn't make that and tapped in for a triple bogey.

** NOTE - I had posted a front side score of 43 that included a double to open and a triple to close.  I was extremely happy with that score and was hoping to be able to keep it going on the back.

Hole #10 - Par 3 - 125 Yards

I had a bit of a wait here, so I took my time and got my yardage.  It was saying about 135, but it was slightly uphill... so I decided to go with an 8 iron.  I hit that well, but pulled it slightly left.  It stayed out of the bunker, but left me a tough downhill chip to the hole.  I hit that well and got the ball to within 7 feet.  I made that putt for par to start the back.

Hole #11 - Par 4 - 336 Yards

Again, I had to wait for the group ahead of me to clear from the fairway before I could take my shot.  When I did, I hit the ball really well, but I pulled it slightly.  The ball finished just off the fairway, 78 yards from the hole.  Since it was into the wind, I figured that a sand wedge wouldn't be enough, so I went with the gap wedge instead.  I hit a really good shot that stopped 9 feet behind the hole.  I then had my worst putting bout of the day as I three-putted from 9 feet, including a missed 2 footer, and I settled for a bogey after playing it well tee-to-green.

Hole #12 - Par 4 - 395 Yards

Another hole straight into the wind.  The group ahead of me was waving me through, so I kind of rushed my process.  I hit a high, hooking drive that looked like it was going to go OB, but I got a good kick off the tree and my ball landed in the left rough.  I had 212 to the hole from the rough and into the wind.  I just wanted to get something that might get close.  I decided on a hybrid which stayed low and then managed to run up into the mouth of the green and on.  When I got up there, I had about 29 feet for birdie.  I lagged that well and finished 3 feet away, making that for an unlikely, but welcome par.

Hole #13 - Par 5 - 567 Yards

This is a very long, but fairly benign par 5.  I had the wind at my back and I hammered my best drive of the day, 282 yards up into the right side of the fairway.  I was still miles from the hole and I just wanted to get myself in a short iron or wedge range, so I hit a 4 iron that worked around the fairway bunker and left me 115 to the pin.  My pitching wedge started left but worked right and then hit the green and worked further right.  I was left with 27 feet for my birdie, which was unrealistic.  I lagged it to 3 feet again and made another par putt.

Hole #14 - Par 4 - 404 Yards

I was back into the wind on this hole.  From the tee, all I told myself was to stay away from the right side where the trouble was.  I hit a solid drive and left myself 140 yards to the flag.  With it being into the wind, I decided to club up to the 7 iron and take a smoother swing.  I hit what turned out to be an almost perfect shot.  The ball grabbed the green on the left side, spun back and funneled down towards the hole.  I was left with a nearly straight 10 footer for birdie, which I managed to drain!

Hole #15 - Par 4 - 379 Yards

I warned myself to stay left because of the OB on the right.  This time, I overcompensated and pull-hooked the ball into the rough on the 14th hole.  I had no look at the green and had to settle for a punch-out 6 iron which left me in the fairway shy of the green.  My sand wedge from there hit the green but rolled off the back edge.  I nearly sank the putt from the fringe, but settled for a tap-in bogey instead.

Hole #16 - Par 3 - 194 Yards

Another perfectly straight iron shot from the tee here, but it came up short.  I was left with a long, 54 foot putt up a steep slope.  My first putt was woefully short and right, leaving me 8 feet from the hole.  My par attempt from there missed low and I had another tap-in bogey.

Hole #17 - Par 4 - 387 Yards

From this tee, it's kind of visually intimidating.  There are 2 creeks which cross the fairway.  To clear the second, it is about a 250 yard carry.  The clear the first, it's about 175 yards.  I don't have a lot of faith in clubs between 175 and 250 yards, and I had the wind at my back, so I decided to try and clear the second creek.  I hit the drive well, and it looked like it would easily clear... but then the wind stopped.  My ball managed to clear, but just barely.  It started to roll back towards the creek, but it got held up by some longer grass.  I was left with 118 yards up the hill to a pin on the right.  I went with a 9 iron that was low and ran through the green.  This left me with an almost impossible chip.  I had to land the ball on the top tier and then it would run down the slope and could very easily go off the front of the green.  Somehow, I managed to land the ball perfectly, it took the slope at almost a stop, and then rolled towards the pin.  Luckily, it slammed into the pin or it would have run off the green.  Instead, it stopped within a foot and I tapped in for par.

Hole #18 - Par 5 - 520 Yards

The final hole is a dogleg right.  It's open enough with the drive, so I hit a decent drive into the fairway.  I was still a long way from the hole and I wanted to leave myself a full wedge or short iron.  I hit a low, leaking 4 iron that finished in the rough up the right side leaving me 115 up the slope.  My pitching wedge was the wrong club and I finished just off the front of the green in the fringe.  I hit a pretty good lag putt from there to 4 feet and, although I was nervous, I managed to sink it for a par to close out my round.

** NOTE - I had managed to shoot a 38 on the back side.  This led to an 81 total on my scorecard.  I was ridiculously happy with this score and wish that I could find a way to maintain that type of play as I head into a tournament heavy few weeks.


Outside of the bad kick on the 9th hole and the poor start with the bad drive on the 1st hole... I had nothing to complain about.  The bad kick evened out with a good kick on the 12th hole, so... in the end, it was what it was.  The back nine 38 was a new career best for 9 holes for me... and the overall 81 was also a new personal best.  As I head into the busy part of my week, I know I'm going to be itching and dreaming about getting back out there prior to Saturday... but I'll have to leave it alone and take the good thoughts with me to Salisbury this weekend.

Until then...

Round Stats

  • Score - 81
  • Penalty Strokes - 3
  • Putts - 30
  • Fairways - 7 of 13
  • Greens in Regulation - 7 of 18
  • Up and Downs - 6 of 8
  • Sand Saves - 0 of 0

Friday, March 18, 2016

Round Review - 3/18/2016 - Spring Lake Country Club (York, SC)

I had some free time to get out on Friday morning, so I decided to take a ride over to Spring Lake for what I was hoping would be a quick, fun round.  I had paid for my round on their website, but when I got to the course, they had no record of it.  The guy in the pro shop said he needed to visit the office and came back with my reservation.  Somehow, the course had booked 5 for that tee slot, so he said he'd send me out on the back instead.

I was fine with that, but I got rushed out by a single that was supposed to have been off already.  He didn't want to pair up and said I should go ahead, so... I rushed to get things together and teed off on #10.


Hole #10 - Par 3 - 132 Yards

Like I mentioned, I kind of rushed here.  I had a vague idea as to the distance and just put a ball on the tee and took a horrible swing with an 8 iron.  It ended up in the trees on the right side, but was playable.  I pitched out over the sand trap but the ball hung up on the fringe.  I putted from there and nearly drained it, but it held up on the lip.  I tapped in to open with a bogey.

Hole #11 - Par 4 - 346 Yards

Because I had no warm-up time, I was still stiff.  My drive from this tee started towards the center and sliced badly to the right rough.  I found it sitting down and had about 160 to the flag on a hole that should not have been that difficult.  I hit a low, slicing 6 iron that managed to run on to the front of the green.  From 33 feet, I hit a pretty poor lag putt to about 5 feet and then made that for a par.

Hole #12 - Par 4 - 408 Yards

It was here that I realized that I was playing the blue tees at 6748 yards instead of the white tees at 6426 yards.  I decided to just continue with it since the course was pretty empty and I wanted to challenge myself to score on a more difficult set of tees anyway.  My drive here was also right and not very good.  I tried to hit a 4 iron from about 190 to the hole, but I topped it and advanced it only about 45 yards.  My 8 iron from the fairway was short and my chip from there left me 10 feet away.  I couldn't make that and tapped in for a double bogey.

Hole #13 - Par 5 - 596 Yards

At almost 600 yards, it's one of the longer holes I've ever played.  I hit a solid drive into the fairway and still had almost 340 yards to the hole.  I hit a hybrid to put me in position, and although it wasn't the best shot, it worked out and left me only 120 or so yards.  My pitching wedge found the green, but I was 28 feet left of the hole.  I hit a very good putt that was tracking until the end when it dropped low and missed, so I tapped in for a par.

Hole #14 - Par 4 - 432 Yards

I had only every played this hole once before and I knew the only real trouble was on the right side where there was some water in play.  I told myself to avoid it at all costs, and then I wiped across the ball and blew it way right into that water.  After my drop, I hit an 8 iron back to the fairway which left me about 130 away.  Another 8 iron from there was a good distance, but slightly left.  I pitched to about 12 feet and needed 2 putts from there for an ugly triple bogey.

Hole #15 - Par 4 - 450 Yards

No trouble here except OB up the right side, but tons of room left.  I did the same thing as on the 14th hole and blew a ball way right.  It went towards the OB over there and I never found it.  My provisional was also right and left me behind a tree.  I punched a 4 iron out of there and then hit an 8 iron well, but right.  I hit a pretty good chip shot from there to 5 feet and converted to 'save' a triple bogey.

Hole #16 - Par 3 - 210 Yards

A horrible 5 iron from the tee was just shy of pin high, but well left.  It left me a near impossible shot over the trap to a short sided pin.  I hit that deep onto the green and needed to lag up from 33 feet.  I did an okay job of that and made the 4 foot putt for bogey.

Hole #17 - Par 4 - 410 Yards

I kind of knew I couldn't get to the second creek from this back tee, so I took a good swing with my driver and landed the ball right next to the 150 yard marker.  I had about 142 to go up the hill from where the ball finished, but my 7 iron was left the entire way and ended in the tiny bunker short and left of the green.  I blasted out but came up short.  I needed 2 putts from 22 feet for another bogey.

Hole #18 - Par 5 - 531 Yards

I just wanted to make a good swing from this tee because the hole didn't fit my eye very well.  I hit a good drive into the fairway, but then blew it with a pull-hooked 4 iron that ran into the hedges.  I found the ball but had to take an unplayable drop and still didn't have much of a swing, so I punched the ball into the fairway.  A gap wedge hit the very front of the green and left me 51 feet away.  A trio of putts closed out the back nine with a triple bogey.

** NOTE - I was not even remotely happy with the 50 I had posted.  I felt like I didn't play horribly, but a few loose swings completely destroyed any hope at making a score.  I was now set to go attack the front and hopefully put up something a little better.

Hole #1 - Par 5 - 429 Yards

From this tee, you almost have to be thinking birdie.  It's pretty wide open and a very short par 5.  I pull-hooked my drive and it found itself behind a few trees.  I didn't have an opening towards the green, so I opted to punch the ball below the trees.  It ran up into the fairway about 50 yards shy of the hole.  My sand wedge from there landed on the fringe and stayed there.  I putted from that spot to about 3 feet and then made that for a par.

Hole #2 - Par 3 - 218 Yards

I didn't hit the greatest 4 iron from this tee, but it was on line.  It came up pretty short and left me a pitch up the hill.  My pitch from that location came up 24 feet short.  I lagged the ball to about 4 feet, which is worse than I was expecting, but I made the 4 footer coming back for the bogey.

Hole #3 - Par 4 - 393 Yards

Anytime I'm facing a dogleg left, I get in my own head.  On this swing, I completely yanked the ball trying to draw it and it landed in the trees.  Luckily, it stayed in bounds, but the only thing I had was another punch out.  The ball ended up in the fairway about 140 yards from the hole.  Because it was slightly uphill, I took a 7 iron and tried to play a cut.  The ball didn't cut and ended up off the green on the left, pin high.  I chipped to about 6 feet above the hole but couldn't drain that so I tapped in for a double bogey.

Hole #4 - Par 4 - 354 Yards

Currently, this hole is playing as a short par 3 because of damage from a winter storm.  I dropped my ball where the tee markers were in the fairway and played from there.  It was just about 160 yards to the hole and my 6 iron finished a little long.  I putted from the fringe to about 7 feet, but again, I was above the hole and could not convert, so I settled for a tap-in bogey.

Hole #5 - Par 3 - 150 Yards

This hole was only playing 137 down a slight hill and into a slight breeze, so I decided on an 8 iron from the tee.  I hit a really good shot that finished 13 feet to the right of the hole, exactly pin high.  I was left with a right-to-left curler which I sank for my only birdie of the day.

Hole #6 - Par 5 - 492 Yards

Ordinarily, I love this hole.  It was a little breezy, though, and I ended up not hitting the greatest tee shot.  I barely cleared the little water hazard to the left and was in a little valley below the fairway bunker on the left side.  I hit a 4 iron from there really well which left me about 110 to the flag.  I hit an approach wedge from there that was a little thin, landed on the front of the green and ran to the back.  I putted from there, nearly holing it, but the ball caught the slope and ran out to 12 feet away.  I couldn't make that for par and settled for ANOTHER tap-in bogey.

Hole #7 - Par 4 - 447 Yards

This is a par 4 that plays almost as long as most par 5 holes I play.  I didn't hit the greatest shot from the tee, but it got out there.  It finished to the right in the rough between the 7th and 8th fairways.  I still had over 220 yards to the green, so I took out my 3 wood and tried to play a cut around the trees.  I struck it almost exactly as I wanted to, but I cut it a little too much.  It ended up in the bunker just right of the green.  I blasted out from there, but it stuck in the fringe.  I then chipped on to about 9 feet.  The putt didn't fall, so I had to tap in for a double bogey.

Hole #8 - Par 4 - 399 Yards

This shouldn't be a difficult hole, but I made it one.  My tee shot was right... and short.  It landed at the base of a pine tree.  I had no shot but to punch out into the fairway.  I did so, but it left me a long way from the hole.  My hybrid was right on, but well short.  I pitched from there to about 17 feet but couldn't get the ball to fall, so tapped in for a second straight double bogey.

Hole #9 - Par 4 - 351 Yards

This is a short hole with a hazard at the end of the fairway.  It means that nothing but an iron is appropriate.  I hit a 4 iron into the middle of the fairway which left me about 150 to the pin.  My 7 iron was a foot from being perfect.  Instead, it hit the bank of the trap and rolled in.  That trap was marked as ground under repair, so I dropped outside and pitched on to about 21 feet.  It was not a good pitch at all and resulted in a two-putt bogey to end my round.

** NOTE - The front nine was marginally better than the back nine, but it still wasn't a good round overall.  I was disappointed that I couldn't put together a decent round on what I feel is a pretty benign course.  Still... it was better than I had been playing, so... not too much to be disappointed with, I suppose.  I'd like to get in another round of practice before the tournament next weekend, but... we'll have to see if I can find the time to get out before time runs out.

Until then...

Round Stats

  • Score - 95
  • Penalty Strokes - 3
  • Putts - 33
  • Fairways - 4 of 13
  • Greens in Regulation - 3 of 18
  • Up and Downs - 1 of 7
  • Sand Saves - 0 of 2

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Charlotte Area Golfweek Amateur Tournament - 3/12/2016 - Cowan's Ford Golf Club at Lake Norman (Stanley, NC)

Leading up to this tournament, I was in full-on 'grind' mode.  All I was thinking about was how to post a somewhat respectable score.  I had been embarrassed by my play through the first few tournaments, so I spent a good deal of time on the course and working on some things.  When I arrived in the morning, I was a bit early and one of the first on the range.  I ended up spending a good hour-plus there because the problem I had been battling with shanking my wedges had returned out of the blue.  At one point, I seriously contemplated leaving because I didn't want to embarrass myself any further.

I didn't leave, obviously... but things didn't exactly work out for me as I had hoped, either.  I got a tip shortly before we teed off to put the ball back in my stance to hopefully help and, while it worked in some instances, it wasn't fool-proof and the problem jumped up and bit me at some inopportune times.  Read below for the details.

Hole #16 - Par 4 - 370 Yards

This is not the most difficult of holes, but not necessarily an easy one... so to open on it isn't a fun thing.  Off the tee, you have to play for a fade and hope that you don't clip the tree hanging over the right side.  I hit a passable drive that found the fairway up the left side.  I had about 170 left up the slope to the green so I hit a 5 iron.  It found the green, but was nowhere close to the hole.  From 49 feet away, I needed 3 putts to get down after a horrible attempt on the first putt, so I opened with a bogey.

Hole #17 - Par 3 - 166 Yards

The hole was playing to about 160 yards and slightly downhill, so I elected to go with my 7 iron.  I caught the ball well and sent it a little long and left of the hole.  I wasn't in the greatest position below the level of the green, but I managed to pitch on to about 19 feet.  My putt for par missed a little on the low side so I tapped in for a second consecutive bogey.

Hole #18 - Par 5 - 529 Yards

If this was a few years ago, I would probably have loved to play this hole because it's a dogleg right which would have played nicely to my huge slice at that point.  Now, however, I hit more of a straight ball and it's difficult to 'force' a fade.  If I hit a driver, I would have gone through the fairway, so I tried to play it 'safe' and hit a 4 iron from the tee.  The problem is, I pulled it dead left.  It slammed into a tree and dropped down at the front of the ladies tee box.  I hit an okay 4 iron from there into the right side of the fairway and then another 4 iron which was a little left from there.  I was left with about 110 yards from the rough.  I hit a pitching wedge really well, but it hit a tree branch and knocked it down.  A gap wedge from there was a little deep.  I chipped on to about 9 feet and made the putt for a double bogey.

Hole #1 - Par 5 - 475 Yards

I really enjoy this hole, especially when it's playing downwind.  I hit a drive that I thought was really solid, but it didn't get very far out there.  I still had a long way to go, so I decided to play safe and lay up with a 5 iron.  I did that and left myself in the fairway with a half wedge shot.  I went a little long and left from there and then hit a poor pitch to about 22 feet.  I couldn't convert the par attempt but made the 2 footer coming back for a bogey.

Hole #2 - Par 4 - 358 Yards

This hole is listed as the #1 handicap hole.  It's a tight drive with a bunker up the right side, but I hit a good one here that finished in the middle of the fairway just a little beyond the bunker.  That left me with about 110 yards slightly up the hill.  My approach wedge was on line but short.  I chipped up to about 14 feet and then three-putted for an uglier than it had to be double bogey.

Hole #3 - Par 3 - 168 Yards

I kinda hate this hole.  It should not be a difficult hole because it's not a long shot from the tee, but I always seem to struggle with it.  I hit a very solid 6 iron from this tee that finished pin high but left of the green.  I hit a poor chip that I fluffed and then had to chip again.  I overcompensated and hit it 33 feet past the hole.  I was able to lag that putt up close and tap in for a double bogey.

Hole #4 - Par 4 - 338 Yards

There is so much room to the left that there is absolutely no reason to go right... except I did just that.  My tee shot disappeared over some bushes and out of bounds.  My provisional was hammered and found the middle of the fairway, leaving me 58 yards to the hole.  My sand wedge was on, but about 25 feet away.  I hit another good lag putt to about 2 feet and tapped in for a double bogey that should have been a par.  I was now getting frustrated because I didn't think I was playing that poorly, but I definitely wasn't scoring.

Hole #5 - Par 5 - 502 Yards

I was burning up inside on this tee and tried to kill one.  It floated a bit right on me and ended up in the pine straw up the right side.  I hit a very solid, very high 7 iron over and around a pine tree in front of me and back into the fairway, leaving myself about 103 yards to the hole.  I thought I was closer than that and I had grabbed a gap wedge and my putter and told my cart partner to drive up.  I tried to deloft the club a bit, but I still came up just short of the green.  I hit a chip that was almost perfect but caught a little tuft of grass on the fringe that killed it.  I was 24 feet away and I managed to three-putt from there for a fourth straight double bogey.

Hole #6 - Par 4 - 353 Yards

I absolutely obliterated my tee shot from this tee.  It took off with a piercing flight and settled 286 yards away in the right rough.  I had an open shot to the green from where I was, only about 95 yards from the hole.  Here is where the issue I spoke about earlier would creep up and bite me.  From that position, I cold shanked one to the right and out of bounds.  I dropped and proceeded to do almost the same exact thing, but this one stayed in.  I punched out of trouble to short of the green, chipped on to 8 feet and took 2 putts from there to post a quadruple bogey that would be revised to a triple due to club rules.

Hole #7 - Par 3 - 141 Yards

It was playing longer than the 141 listed and into the wind, so I hit a smooth 6 iron that looked to be perfect.  It turned out to be 2 feet from perfect, but instead, hit into the bank and rolled down to the bottom of the hill leaving a very tough pitch back up to the green.  It took 2 shots to get it up there and then I wasn't able to convert a 6 footer for bogey, so I tapped in for a double bogey.  

Hole #8 - Par 4 - 356 Yards

I was beginning to wish I had decided to go home before the round started.  On this hole, I hit another passable drive that left me about 115 to the hole.  I settled on a smooth 9 iron, but I pushed it right and into the sand trap at the front of the green.  I blasted way over the green from there into the woods and took 2 shots to get it onto the green.  From 39 feet, all I could do was lag it up and I was left with a 4 foot attempt for triple bogey, which I made.

Hole #9 - Par 4 - 281 Yards

Things started to settle down on this hole for me, and with a few exceptions, I played pretty decent golf the rest of the way in.  My drive here was a good one that hung out a little to the right and finished in the rough.  I had about 150 to the flag out of a good lie.  I hit a 7 iron that took the exact flight I wanted.  It hit the green and settled 13 feet from the hole.  My birdie attempt didn't really scare the hole, but I was left with a tap in for my first par of the day.

** NOTE - There were a lot of holes on the front side that I felt were a lot better than they turned out to be.  I struggled to a 53 on that side so I knew I wasn't going to finish anywhere near the money, but I wanted to have a strong finish to at least turn in something respectable, so I headed to my last 6 holes focused on that.

Hole #10 - Par 4 - 407 Yards

This hole is uphill from the tee and then downhill from the crown of the fairway.  I annihilated a ball from the tee that followed the line of the fairway and rough up the right side.  When we got to where most of the tee shots had settled, we didn't see my ball.  At the bottom of the hill in the flat area, I spotted something shining and when I went to check it out, it was my ball.  It was a 324 yard drive which found the fairway and left me about 68 yards to the flag.  As I stood over the ball with my sand wedge, the thought of shanking the ball crept into my head... but I made a good swing and the ball landed on the green about 24 feet left of the hole.  I gave it a good run, but the putt didn't drop.  I tapped in for a second straight par. 

Hole #11 - Par 3 - 189 Yards

This is a bit of a longer par 3, but it wasn't playing all that tough since we had a bit of help from the wind.  I hit a good, solid 5 iron that finished behind the hole.  From 33 feet, I wanted to make the putt, but it missed just on the low side and left me a tap in for a third consecutive par.

Hole #12 - Par 4 - 356 Yards

This is an easy little hole if played correctly.  From the tee, I hit a push fade that finished in the right rough.  I was left with about 115 yards to the hole.  I then had the issue pop up again and I shanked a pitching wedge and then a sand wedge in succession.  I blasted out of the bunker to the fringe and putted from there to about 3 feet.  I cleaned that up for a double bogey.

Hole #13 - Par 4 - 325 Yards

From the tee, you can't really hit anything but an iron or you bring trouble into play.  There is a creek that runs down the left side and then crossed over the fairway... and then up by the green, there is a pond off to the right.  I hit a solid 4 iron into the left side of the fairway that left me 130 to the pin.  My 9 iron was slightly pulled, but finished pin high.  I chipped from there to 11 feet, but my par attempt wouldn't drop, so I tapped in for a bogey.

Hole #14 - Par 4 - 327 Yards

Another hole that should have been easier than it turned out to be.  I hit a high, pulled draw that finished on the mounds up the left side.  I was left with another 9 iron shot from about 122 out of a thick lie.  Just like the last hole, it was pin high but a little left.  I hit a good bump and run chip that caught a mound and stopped rolling, but I was on the green.  From 13 feet, I finally made a putt and made a par.

Hole #15 - Par 5 - 500 Yards

This hole is a big, downhill par 5.  From the tee, it looks like it's impossible to miss the fairway... but I've done it, so I know I can.  On this day, though, I hammered a driver.  The ball stayed in the air forever and finished 325 yards from the tee.  I was left with 182 to the flag.  I was going back and forth between a 4 iron and a hybrid.  Ultimately, I elected to hit the 4 iron... but I caught it a little heavy.  It ended up hitting the rock wall shy of the green and finishing in the hazard.  Luckily, it was playable.  I hit a sand wedge up over the wall and onto the green.  From 30 feet, my birdie attempt was blasted beyond the hole.  I could not make the 8 foot par attempt and tapped in for a bogey.

** NOTE - The back side was much better than the front for me.  I had posted a 44 there with some solid play to close out the round.  I wasn't happy with my overall score, but I proved to myself that I still had the ability to play at least something that slightly resembled golf.  The winning score was 11 strokes better than mine, but I managed to stay out of triple digits and out of last place.

There's a 2 week break until the next tournament, and then we play in back-to-back weeks before I go on vacation.  I hope to get out to the course a few times between now and then to work on some things, but first and foremost... I need to work on getting my confidence back with my wedges.

Until next time!

Round Stats

  * Score - 98 (AGT Score of 97)

  * Course Handicap - 20
  * Net Score - 78 (AGT Net Score of 77)
  * Penalty Strokes - 2
  * Putts - 37
  * Fairways - 7 of 14
  * Greens in Regulation - 5 of 18
  * Up and Downs - 1 of 6
  * Sand Saves - 0 of 2