I shot a 79 today at the very difficult, windswept Ussher’s Creek Golf Course. 79 is a decidedly average score for me in normal conditions but this round was very taxing from both a mental and physical perspective. Five and a half hour rounds can do that to you, especially when you have a mother’s day dinner to make and you CAN’T be late for that!
For whatever reason, I get a bit nervous before these events and only these events. I’m never nervous for any tournaments at the club, nor am I nervous when playing in any of the provincial tournaments. If you can believe it, I triple bogeyed the first hole in three of the five events last year!!! Now that’s nerves for you!
Today, I had a game plan and I stuck to it for the most part. When I didn’t, things went bad.
I planned on hitting my brand new 2-iron hybrid club off the first hole, a short par four measuring 366 yards. I actually had a driver out for a minute or two before teeing off when I saw the others with the big stick in their hands but smartly went back to the hybrid. I nailed it off the tee just left of the fairway, hit an 8-iron in to 9 feet from about 150 yards out and drained the putt to start promisingly with a birdie.
I promptly gave the shot back on the next hole, a short par five and then three putted the third for another bogey. The greens were unbelievably slow…quite possibly the slowest I’ve played in a decade and I just couldn’t adapt. I did make one monster, nailing a 35 footer for birdie on the intimidating 6th hole, a 410 yard par four completely bordered by water on the left side.
Funniest hole of the day was number eight, the #1 handicap hole on the course. It’s a brute in the tamest of conditions, a par four measuring 459 yards. Today, we were playing into a two club wind. I nailed my drive and still found myself 237 yards from the flag! My 3-wood sailed right and short, I pitched beautifully to six feet and missed the par putt for my bogey net par; the same result of everyone else in the group. What a golf hole.
From the funniest to the most upsetting. Number nine (shown in the header photo) is a 538 yard par five with water down the entire right side. It really comes into play at the green, where the creek crosses over to the left of the postage stamp sized putting surface. My original plan was to force myself into making it a three shot hole so as not to flirt with disaster. I would hit the 2-hybrid and then hit the 3-hybrid second shot to about 100 yards. Why can’t I stick to the plan?!
I hit the driver instead and of course it found the lip of a fairway bunker. I hit a great recovery, getting the ball to within 174 yards of the hole. However, my 5-iron third was hit thin and while it did make it over the creek, the slope took the ball right back down into a watery grave. I was able to drop on the other side of the water since it did make it over originally but was unable to get up and down to save my bogey, giving me a 40 for the front side.
I made one more birdie on the back nine, a five footer on the par five 14th hole and finished strongly with pars on the difficult 17th and 18th to end the round in the 70’s.
I hit 10 greens in regulation today and hit 7 of 14 fairways, both improvements on my recent form. However, my putting was atrocious: I had 33 putts on the day and only 4 one-putts (three of them were birdies, the other a bogey). That’s right, I didn’t get up and down for par once all day and that’s usually my strength.
My buddy Jay had a horrible day in the event, shooting a 90. He said he only hit two greens in regulation all day. He was really down on himself when I spoke to him, saying he was glad he gave up the membership this year if this is the way he’s going to play. I’ll have to get out on the course with him soon to try to bolster his spirits.
Since I had to get out of dodge right away to make the mother’s day dinner, I wasn’t able to stick around to see how I stood overall after the event. Jay says that the scores were generally very high and says that I definitely placed in the top-15. If so, I’m pleased. I’ll obviously report back when I find out the scores.
I barely made Mother’s Day dinner with the family. We usually do something really fancy but my mom just wanted to try the Mandarin, a chinese-style buffet here in town. Dinner was fantastic. My sister was able to make the trip from Toronto and it’s always great seeing her. She brought me an I-Pod Shuffle, a mini-MP3 player that I can use to relax while practicing on the driving range this year. I guess she received this as a gift through her business but already had one so she asked if I wanted this one. Very nice gift! Thanks Sis!
I’m completely exhausted. I’m golfing at 8am tomorrow (oops, I guess that’s today) and it will be the first time we get everyone together for our weekly skins game. Hopefully I can continue to improve on today’s performance!