Saturday, September 4, 2010

Why can't I ever be good at putting and driving in the same day?

I got a chance to sneak out to Redgate Municipal Golf Course in Rockville with a good buddy of mine, JE, today.   We both scored OK, a 90 for me, but nothing too impressive.

It was a frustrating round for both of us, mostly because we couldn't find the fairway off the tee.  That led to tree problems, a few lost balls, and even an embarrassing visit to the parking lot.  Because I was in the  rough so much, I also missed a lot of greens.  And when I lost any semblance of touch around the greens on about hole number three I thought I was going to put up a horrific number.

But then something strange happened to me, my putts started dropping.  That NEVER happens.  I am a horrible putter.  But after I three putt the first green, I made a long putt on number two for birdie.  After that, everything seemed to get easier.  My six footers were dropping, and my lag putts were nestling up close to the hole.  Even when they didn't, I still made the come-backers.  It was amazing, and it saved my round.

One reason that I drove the ball so poorly is that I was playing a demo driver from the pro-shop (why?  see here).  It was the new Taylormade Superfast that I have had my eye on.  Unfortunately I don't think I should critique the club's performance when my swing was so off. Everything was pushed out to the right and slice.  It was awful.

Besides the putting, I did have a few high points.  Two shots in particular stand out.  The first, was my approach shot on number ten.  The hole is a mid-length 412 yard par four, that is straight off the tee, then has a slight turn to the right and a small, well protected green.  Its not the hardest hole on the course, but definitely not the easiest.

As I had been doing all day, I flung the ball out to the right with a high push-fade and came to rest about ten yards behind the row of trees that lined the right side of the fairway.  I was about 150 out but there was not way I could get the ball up and over the trees, so I had no choice other than to punch it.  Although I had a clear look at the green, there yet another tree that was about 100 yards out that completely took the pin and the right side of the green out of play.  So I grabbed my 6 iron, opened my stance way up and hit a punch right at that tree guarding the right side of the green.  I struck it perfectly.  It shot off the face low and at about 50 yards it veered hard to the left, just missed the tree, landed in the rough and bounded up toward the green.  The ball ended up running through the back of the green, but it felt great to be able to control both the trajectory of the ball and the shape of the shot at the same time. 

The second memorable shot came on the 383 yard par 4 12th.  The tee shot on the 12th is demanding, and requires 230 yard carry if you want to avoid hitting your next shot blind and on a severe uphill lie.  It is a fairly significant dogleg right, with woods all along the right side of the fairway.  Not an easy shot for a guy who has been going right all day long.

It will be no surprise to you that my ball was in the woods.  But fortunately, I found my ball and had a pretty benign lie in a clearing.  There were 30 foot trees between me and the green, but I only had about 100 yards left.  So I grabbed my 54 degree wedge and had at it.  I picked the ball cleanly and launched it over the trees on the perfect line.  When I got up to the green I was 15 feet out, and there was a deep divot only a few feet from the hole.  Although I missed the birdie putt, there is nothing better than hitting a ball over trees and onto a green.

All in all,  it was a good round.  Redgate is a pretty good bang for your buck course and I will definitely be returning soon enough.

Next round is on Labor Day, when I get to sneak out on the private Piedmont Country Club with my buddy BK.

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