NOTE: Usually, I write up a very long-winded review that takes forever to compose and proves to be very tough to read. Therefore, I am going to break this review into three different posts: “The Game”, “The Courses” and finally, “Looking Ahead”. My hope is that smaller, more frequent posts will get me motivated to write more often while also prompting more return visits to the blog by you, my readers.
I started 2014 with a 3.9 index and that actually skyrocketed as high as 5.9 before falling back to a season-ending 5.3. For the second year in a row, my average score started with an “8”, as my game continues to deteriorate. After one subpar round in 2013, I couldn’t approach that number this year and my low score ended up being a 73. I timed that round well, however, as I shot that score during the first round of our Club Championship in August. More on that in a second…
I posted 69 scores this year, up 10 (!!) from last year but that number is a bit deceiving. See, I played six rounds at Ballyneal in 2013 that couldn’t be posted due to the course having no rating so in reality, I played only four more times this year.
Competitively, it was an interesting year – filled with plenty of ups and downs.
I’ve played in the St. Catharines Men’s Invitational for a number of years in a row and once again teed it up with my wife’s uncle Henry in early June. We didn’t challenge for a title this year but we did finish in the winning calcutta basket to take home a sizeable cash prize. The club always puts on a great show for this three-day event and 2015 is a big anniversary year for the member-guest so I expect another great event late this spring.
The club match play events have always been a big deal to me and the Langley Cup, a 0-7 handicap event with full strokes from the back tees, continues to elude me. I won my first round match against Jon W but ran into my buddy Harris in round two. I’d battle back from a deficit to take him to extra holes but I’d make bogey on the first playoff hole and lose. That was a tough one.
I’d redeem myself, shockingly enough, in the club’s Scratch Match Play event. This is open to all club members and the matches are played straight up, with no strokes, from the back tees. As a six handicap, needless to say, this is a tough event to win matches but I played great in the early rounds, beating my buddies Yogi and Colin before running into Mike K, a multi-time club champion at St. Catharines and very celebrated amateur at the provincial level. I just wanted to give him a good match and had zero expectations but perhaps that allowed me to loosen up and play up to my capabilities, as I built up a huge lead, stunning myself, our playing partners and perhaps even Mike! I was 4 up with 5 to play and started to tense up, losing the 14th on a three-putt, halving the 15th to put him dormie then losing the 16th to keep him alive. Thankfully, I was able to squeak out the win on the 17th hole to take the HUGE upset win, maybe one of the great match play wins of my life! Very, very satisfying! However, I’d end up losing 3&2 to Brandon M in the semi-finals to finally bow out of the competition.
It was a great run, something to definitely be proud of.
That Scratch Match run was a precursor to the Club Championship, always the biggest event on the calendar. Once again, I settled on playing A Flight as opposed to Open due to my poor play but I came into the event on a bit of a roll and shot that opening round 73 that I mentioned earlier to take the early lead. A 77 in round two placed me in a tie for the lead with Jamie P and set up a wild closing round on Championship Monday, one I documented in a post here as I’d somehow hold on for a dramatic one shot win and my first ever Club Championship victory!
What a satisfying win that was! Now that I’ve finally won A Flight, my plan for 2015 is to move up with the flat bellies and once again compete in the Open flight. I’ll really need to get my game into gear for that!
For the second consecutive year, I ran a season-long competition on Sundays at St. Catharines G&CC called the “Premier League”. It’s proven to be very successful and gives everyone something to play for during our normal weekend rounds. That said, I was absolutely horrible this year, finishing in 11th out of 15 in the “Back Tee” division while also finishing dead last in skins money won. What a brutal run I had on Sundays this year! I really look forward to bettering my performance in 2015 and we’ll likely institute some sort of net component this coming year to keep everyone who is otherwise out of the running interested.
Finally, one of the major events on our schedule is the Turkey Two Ball Invitational that I run and we once again had 32 players taking part in mid-October for this season-ending tournament. I’d team up with my buddy Bucky in the two man best ball event but our even par 72 would place us in a tie for 7th out of the 16 teams and outside the money positions. I did birdie the 18th, my last hole of the year, to earn us a skin and a little bit of a return on our investment but after a second place finish in 2013, I’d say this finish was a bit of a disappointment. Still, I had a great time and look forward to the fifth anniversary of the event coming up in 2015!
All in all, a very successful season on the golf course!
2014 Year in Review Part Two – The Courses
2014 Year in Review Part Three – Looking Ahead