Saturday, April 15, 2006
"Two-time Masters champion" has twice as good a ring to it as "Masters champion"
Saturday, October 29, 2005
As a lefty golfer, I join the greats (in address, if not in ball-striking ability...)
Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Lefty Grove
I've never played so fast in my life. I badly rushed some shots but also found that I was better able to fall into a rhythm and not overthink my shots. Still, my ball-striking was bad; I was overcompensating for my lack of power and generally leaving shots short and left. Next season I should take lessons. But some lucky putting and a sharp pitching wedge kept my score south of 95.
Score: 46-46=92; Putts: 13-16=29; Woods D; Long irons D+; Short game B+; Putting A-
Par 4, 317 yards, dogleg right
I'm annoyed by the roar of a train behind me, an eerie thunder on the lonely and darkening course.
I'm in the twilight of the day, and of my golfing season.
The tee is set snugly amid the trees and leaves little landing room up ahead.
In likely my last drive of the year, and I end on a fitting note, slicing it to the adjacent fairway. I take 7-wood from there and think I've planted it on the green, though it's too dark to tell. I'm left with a 32-footer with an ambiguous break. I start it right and leave it pin high, but 3 feet right. I sink it for my first par of the day, on the last hole of the year.
The clock strikes seven; my midnight.
Par 4, 364 yards
A gnarly hazard lies just out of reach off the tee. My limbs are freezing up, though I notice that my half- to three-quarter-turn is improving my ball flight. I'm losing distance, but my scarf keeps my head still and my restricted swing seems to be preventing problems.
Except for this shot; my driver slices badly but leaves me a good lie in the rough. I think I strike my 3-wood well from there but barely clear the hazard. My 9-iron flies long and leaves me a 40-footer over a big downhill break. I blast the putt way long and have 26 feet coming back. I line it up and watch it fall. 5.
Par 5, 474 yards
This one's a near carbon copy of 7, A nasty hazard to clear. I'm starting to lose the sun and my bones are getting colder.
I start my 3-wood low and right. I have to force my 7-wood left to avoid a tree out of the rough, and watch it bounce off the cart path to the left and rebound straight up off a tree before settling just to the left of the path. Could've been major trouble in the woods. I get another lucky bounce as my second 7-wood gets a hard kick from the left rough nearly to the fairway within paces of the green. But my pitching wedge goes long, and it takes me a sand wedge and a putt to get home. 6.
Par 4, 128 yards
A carbon copy of the par-3 6th, running parallel to it.
My 7-iron flies shy, and my sand wedge leaves the rough to the right. I two-putt from 25 feet. 4.
Par 4, 367 yards
The tee lies over a vintage wooden bridge and leads to another scenic setting by river, still soured by the noise of nearby traffic.
I send a 7-wood safely over the hazard but not much farther. I hit a 3-wood with a restricted swing and watch it fly straight and right at the green. I pitch it to the right edge, from which it's puttable, though it takes 2 to get home. 5.
Par 5, 478 yards
Easily the signature hole of Thornapple, a mighty par 5 hugging the gorgeous river against a vast backdrop of trees, which today are aflame and breathtaking. All that mars this spot is the roar of the highway, and my poor play.
I play 5-wood to keep the water out of play but strike it short. I top my next 5-wood and then send another one straight ahead. My 8-iron is swatted down off the front edge, leaving me a sand wedge, which comes up short, leaving me a two-putt. 7.