Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Solid Start

My execution was surprisingly erratic today in round one, but my game plan was good and my short game bailed me out a few times as I fought my way to a bogey-free, four-under-par round of 66 on the Lake View course at Callaway Gardens. I played from the rough too many times and had to scramble very well around the greens on a few holes, but I had to make only one putt outside of five feet to save par and actually gave away two make-able putts in the closing three holes that could have made my score better. All-in-all, I'm happy with my score, thrilled with my commitment to my game plan, and only slightly disappointed in my execution.

I've got to tell one story from today's round that really showed me the power of being positive. The 9th hole is the first of just two par-5 holes on the Lake View course. Both are reachable, so I definitely wanted to take advantage of them. The fairway on the 9th must be 50 yards wide, but I hit a wild hook off of the tee and watched helplessly as it hit the cart path and bounced into a lake so far left that it's not really in play on the tee shot. I never really even acknowledged the horribleness of the shot, but rather just walked down there to see what would be my best option for a drop. Because the hole doglegs to the left around the lake, I could keep the point where the ball crossed the hazard between me and the hole and walk backwards far enough to take my drop away from the thick trees that line the lake. I thought my way through the drop and made a smart decision and proceeded to hit a nice six iron up the fairway to 90 yards, hit a really sharp wedge shot to ten feet behind a tough pin tucked against a front bunker, and roll in the putt to save my par. To most guys, a par on that hole was a huge disappointment, but to me, it felt every bit as sweet as a birdie and kept my round moving forward. I'm so glad I didn't gripe and moan about the tee shot and let it get me down. I just try to smile and keep going, and that has made a lot of difference.

I have not looked at scores, so I really don't know how I stand. I know that I definitely played the easier of the two courses today, but I doubt it was easier by very much. Tomorrow when I move to the Mountain View course, I am going to keep a very similar game plan. Mountain View allows me to hit driver on almost every non-par-3 hole, and that is what I plan to do. I'm going to drive it in the fairway, and continue to be fairly conservative with the tough hole locations. The course will offer a steady diet of wedges and short irons into the greens, so if I execute well, even my conservative game plan should leave me with a lot of very make-able birdie putts. I'm growing more and more comfortable on the greens each day, and I'm confident that I will continue to putt the ball very well. I'm feeling good, and I think I can shoot a great score on the Mountain View course in round two.

I tee it up at 11:10 in the second round. I'm going to commit to another solid game plan, and trust it on every shot. It's going to be a great day. Check back here to hear all about it!

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