Twin Lakes Golf Course is a super short, but well manicured executive course in Palatine. I drive by it every day on my way to and from work, as it is right off of 53 and Northwest Highway. In spite of it’s short length, this course can be both fun and/or challenging. The rough is thick, the greens fairly quicky and the sand, which is found on every hole, is a bitch to play out of. The traps are unusually deep and large for the size of the greens and the sand’s fine texture makes for slightly sunken lies and no chance to scoop it. You have to do the professional-looking exploding sand shot and my inability to do just that would end up costing me my shot at breaking into the thirties for the first time of the season.
The first hole features the most intimidating tee shot I have ever played. Step up to the box and you have to hit over a lake. Not a pond or a stream or a creek or a crick. A lake. Now, it is not a huge lake. It is probably only 170-190 to clear the water, depending on how you want to play the hole. You are, essentially, firing perpendicularly to the fairway. The green is reachable from the tee, but if you clear the water you have about 10 yards of rough before you reach a gigantic greenside bunker, and if you happen to clear the bunker and land on the green you have to hope it does not roll off into the greenside bunker on the otherside, or roll off the green and down a hill into some thick cabbage. Needless to say, the fairway is a safer play, but not necessarily an easier play, as the fairway is at the water’s edge, and if you carry past it or get too much roll, you have to deal with an enormous, deep fairway bunker. Beyond that still you have some untamed rough as well as some small, annoyingly placed trees.
This is how you will start out your round at Twin Lakes. This shot is intimidating, but not unmanageable. It is probably 240 to the center of the green, and if the wet stuff does not scare you into clubbing up, an easy 3 wood or solid 5 will get you to the center of the fairway and anywhere from a 9 iron to a sand wedge into the green.
I started my round cocky. I told Chris right off the bat that I was going for the green…still riding high in my cart path aided 300 yard drive from the day before. First swing took up a big divot and skied the ball out about 100 yards into the drink. Dumbass. Instead of dropping I took another tee shot and managed to clear the drink, but I put it the position of having to hit up over a bunker to get on. I managed to do just that, though, and, with the penalty stroke, was able to salvage a double bogey after 2 putting from here.
Combined with the penalty stroke on that hole, I would completely shatter any hope of shooting in the thirties on this next hole, a 184 yard par 3 on which I feel completely in between clubs. I cannot hit my 3 iron straight enough to feel confident in using it over the water, and my 5 wood is just too damn much club. Everytime I step up to this tee, my hope is to put in the left bunker, as I know the likelihood of hitting and keeping this green low, there is plenty of trouble (in the form of trees) if you go too far left and water to the front and right. Since I had been striking the ball well and I was afraid of the wind carrying my 5 wood too far, I grabbed the 3 iron and hoped for the best. I managed (by mishitting, of course) to hit a low screamer that flew exactly how I wanted. Fade around the large portion of the water and rolled up in the center of the greenside bunker.
That is not a strategy I will ever play again.
The green slopes down from left to right and beyond the green there is an even steeper slope down to the water, so I am standing over this shot thinking of a million different scenarios, all of them bad, and wondering how to play it. I had not played out of the sand yet. It was soft and dry. My ball was sitting up but if I tried to scoop it I would have certainly carried it over. I had to try that afforementioned exploding sand shot, which I am so not good at, and fly it just over the edge of the trap and let gravity take the ball down to the hole.
I have my strategy.
I am ready to go.
Let’s do this.
First shot was a whiff. Second chunked up to the lip of the trap and rolled back down to my feet. Third hit the lip of the trap and rolled back down a few more feet. My fourth shot…that was the keeper. Up, out, roll and an easy 2 put for a legitimate 9.
That’s a +6, folks, and that makes me +8 through two holes. Walking to the third tee I remember saying to Chris, “Ok, let’s go home.”
The rest of my round was surprisingly adequate, putting up all bogeys, with the exception of 2 doubles and one birdie on the 9th which I obtained via the old 25 foot putt from the fringe. So, in the end, if I had not taken a penalty on the first tee and if I could have gotten out of the trap in one shot on the second hole, I probably could have shot 39 or 40, which feels a lot nicer than the 44 I finished up with.
Not sure where or when I will be golfing next, as we have no money.