Thursday, March 25, 2010

Longest Day Ever... Pretty Good Golf, Though!

Today was the most unbelievably bizarre and challenging day I've ever experienced in my golf career. In the morning, I was in downtown Columbia, South Carolina, waiting for my 1:20 p.m. second-round tee time. I was about twenty miles south of the golf course I would be playing, and at 11:30, (with a nice lunch packed!) I started the journey up to the course. Traffic problems caused me to take a little detour. This was no big deal as I had some time to spare, but then the very unexpected happened. I noticed the temperature dial in my car creeping towards the "H." Then I began to smell an odd odor. Finally, I noticed a little smoke escaping the hood of my car and knew that I could push my trusty Ford Taurus no farther. Desperate for assistance, I parked at a downtown gas station. No help could be found. I had no other option but to call a taxi and hope it arrived quickly. It arrived quickly enough, and 55$ later I was running to the driving range with just enough time to get loose and hit a few putts.

After all that, I went out on the course still determined to meet my two goals: commit to each shot and have fun. I failed a few times on the first goal, and got a little uptight and nervy a few times on the back nine, but I came very close to achieving both objectives. The results were good. I drove the ball beautifully for the first time all year. My iron play was very solid. My chipping left a little to be desired at times, but also looked very good a few times. Putting was my Achilles heel, though I felt like I was hitting some really good putts. I missed three in that 4-6 foot range on the front nine and just couldn't get any medium range putts to fall coming down the stretch.

The end result was a one-under-par 71 and a two-day total of even par 143. I was a little bit heartbroken to find out after retrieving my overheating car that the cut had fallen at one-under-par. A missed cut by one. I played so much better this week and felt so much better on the course. I honestly cannot wait for another chance at it!

I have to share two shots that I hit today that make me smile. Knowing I likely needed another birdie, I was relishing the intensity of the last few holes. On the seventeenth hole, a par three, I had 185 yards uphill to a pin stuck on a very shallow top shelf of the green. I knew that a smooth five would likely bounce over if it carried to the top, and I needed to be aggressive. I decided to play a high, hard draw with a six iron. I painted the picture in my mind and I signed it with a beautiful swing that produced just the shot I had pictured. The ball fallowed my intended path and landed softly eight feet short directly in line with the hole. Unfortunately, I did not quite read the putt properly. Then, on the 18th hole, I had a swinging, right-to-left, over a hill and back down 40-foot putt for birdie. I studied it, chose a line, felt the speed, stood over the putt, and... didn't trust it. So, instead of hitting it anyway, I backed off, went through my routine again, picked a line and felt a speed that I did trust, and hit what looked like a perfect putt. It was tracking the whole way only to catch the top lip and slowly spin out on the other side. It was so much fun to watch that ball roll thinking it was going in! Next time I have a putt like that on my last hole of a tournament it will be for the win!

I was definitely sad at the end of the day. But now, I am encouraged. My game is coming around. I am going to get it. I love playing golf again, and I will play great again soon because of that! Oh yeah, and my car will be fine again soon, too!

I'm pretty sure it is officially spring, and just like the little blue birds, my birdie barrage will hatch soon, too!!

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