After my pathetic showing only 24 hours earlier, I was anxious to play again. To fix what I had done wrong. To redeem myself. My Uncle Ted, who is one of my favorite people to golf with, got out of work at 11 this morning and wanted to golf with my Dad. I planned on attending, providing the kiddo would allow for me to leave early enough. They wanted to tee off around noon. I woke up around 10. Baby didn’t wake up. Wifey didn’t wake up. I made some coffee and hopped on the internet for a while, when wifey came out of the bedroom and informed me she had trouble getting to sleep and was up until about 7 am. She kindly asked that, should the baby wake up and not go back to sleep, that I stay home and take care of her so she could get some more rest. I kindly obliged, and when the baby woke up around 11, I kinda felt my opportunity to golf today was gone. 15 or 20 minutes later, Grace was done eating and Nikki was heading back to bed. Nik said that if Grace fell asleep and stayed asleep I could just leave for golf if there was still time, though.
After a diligent burping, some singing and rocking, Grace did fall back asleep. I wrapped her up and put her in her bassinet, hoping against hope that both she and the wife would be out for a few hours. Meanwhile, I pooped, cleaned up my coffee mess, had some cherry pie and informed my Dad that I would likely be able to make it, so long as they were willing to wait until 1230 or so. He agreed. I checked back in on my gals and they were both out, so I, quietly as I could, gathered up my shit and left the house at 12 on the nose.
I managed to get out to Maple Meadows in about 18 minutes, which is pretty damn good time. Pops and T-Boy were in the bar chatting when I arrived. We paid, got our carts and made our way through the long, winding path full of hills and tunnels under Addison Road to the East 9 course. I have blogged about Maple Meadows before. It is one of my favorite courses. Lengthy. Challenging. Affordable. Gorgeous. The course likes me, too. Every time I play there, I offer up at the very least 4 or 5 of my golf balls as a sacrifice to the golf Gods.
While I did not play my best today, and my score alone would indicate that I did not play much better than I did yesterday, I feel much better about my game. I made more quality shots, and when I did something stupid, I took the time to think about it and corrected it the next time around.
I started the round off with a bogey on the first hole, which is without question the easiest hole on the course. I flubbed my 7 iron off of the tee, but got my trusty 56 degree wedge up and in a position to 2 putt. Decent. I won the hole and had honors stepping up to the second hole, a monstrous par 5. It is an interesting tee shot. The hole dog legs right, and you are blind standing on the elevated tee. There is a large creek perpendicular to the angle of attack about 100 yards ahead. To reach the front of the fairway takes a pretty good poke, something in the neighborhood of 180-200. I got a little too Jim Furyk-y at the top of my back swing and sliced it waaaaay off into deer tick country. Uncle Ted cleared the water and Dad topped it off into the drink. I hit a provisional ball and drove it like a fucking man. Probably in the 225-250 range. Faded it slightly right…it was perfect, with the exception of being about 3 yards off of the fairway. By that point, we all 3 within about 50 yards of each other. My Dad was away and off far to the right, which the worst position to be in. Not only is it low ground that is usually soft after a rain, but the treeline pokes out and narrows the fairway ahead, so if you cannot hit a low fade, you have to hit it up and over. He set the bar for us, blasting his 5 wood up, over and dead center of the fairway out past the 150 yard stick. Uncle Ted was next and from his better lie and angle, he hit an equally nice shot, coming up just short of the stick and on the left edge of the fairway. That left my 5 wood and me. I blasted it dead straight and way out past the stick, leaving myself even with a sprinkler cap that read 116 yards in. It was the nicest 3 consecutive shots I have ever seen on that hole. Too bad it was my 4th shot and my Dad’s 5th. With my Dad putting up a 10 and yours truly a 9, Uncle Ted took a lead that would stand up for quite a while.
The next big moment for me came on the 4th hole, which is a tricky little par 4. Dog leg left with lightly scattered trees on the left and right. My drive went well right, onto the fairway of the 3rd hole. Because of the dog leg, the trees and a small pond on the left of the green, it is better to be right on this hole. The only problem is that…I was on the other side of the trees and would have to either go over or through them. When I got to my ball, it was apparent that I got a little lucky with my roll.
I had a lovely little window to play through with an absolutely perfect angle and line. All I needed to do was make the shot. Good old 5 wood again. I put a good stroke on it, kept it under the trees, but it tailed off to the right and ended up pin-high on the cart path. I had to take my drop on the other side of the cat path, which left me an awkward, downhill lie. I did not bend my knees enough and ended up skulling it, which carried it on and off of the green. The extra stroke cost me. Should have been a bogey…ended up a double.
I really dribbled the next hole down my leg, putting a few balls into backyards. I notched a 9 on that hole, but luckily for me, so did my Uncle Ted, so I was able to stay within a couple strokes of his lead.
I picked up one stroke on the 6th and 7th holes, and then promptly lost them both on the 8th, giving my Uncle a 2 stroke lead stepping up to the 9th. The yardage on the card reads 190, but the back tee was set up exactly at the 177 marker. That is too short for my 5 wood, but I also have not hit my 3 iron much this season, so when I pulled it from my bag, I did so with great trepidation. What resulted was by and far my best tee shot of the day. I was lined up left because I have a tendency to fade long irons, but this one went dead straight and I stuck it on the far left edge of the large green, with this long, downhill, severely left-to-right putt for birdie.
Well, I ended up leaving myself about a 10 footer for par, which I pushed right for a tap in bogey. My Uncle triple bogeyed, though, which resulted in a tie. It was a decent round and, although my score was not particularly great, I felt that I played a lot better than I did the previous day. Plus, it was a gorgeous afternoon, the course was in great shape and we had a lot of fun.
I love golfing.