After hitting some range balls to warm up I went to the first tee feeling somewhat fine about how things might go. My biggest concern was hitting it left with this stronger grip I've been adjusting to but for the most part I thought things would work themselves out. However, once I teed the ball up I felt a little uncomfortable with the way the hole looked to me :
|The view from the first tee at Falcon Point|
The second hole is a little par-3 that has a double green shared with the fourth hole :
|The second hole, complete with double green|
I hit my first decent shot of the round off the tee on the par-4 third. The 6-iron approach was decent but caught thin so I ended up a little short of the green. I proceeded to only semi-shank that chip and from there got down in two for a bogey. We're gradually getting better! The trend continued with a par on the fourth hole as I hit a good drive and a decent 7-iron to the green. Two putt pars are welcome at anytime, especially at this point.
We then come to the screwy par-5 fifth hole, shown below :
|A look at the fifth green from the fairway|
|The sixth hole at Falcon Point|
|The par-3 seventh hole|
The ninth is a par-5 that doglegs left around a water hazard and also has water short and right of the green. I forget to get a pic of either view (in fact, I forgot to take a few pics on the back nine also). I hit a great drive, however it ends up that it was 20 yards too far and it went through the fairway. Luckily I had a shot back to the fairway, though I had to clear the hazard to get to it. My shot came out lower that I hoped but I cleared the water, wedged onto the green and gathered in a par to shoot 43 on the front, which I guess could have been quite a bit worse.
I then showed signs of further recovery on the back nine by parring the first three holes. The tenth hole had another strange hole position, cut into the side of a hill that gave you a near zero chance of ending up close to the hole without hitting it or something. I managed to coax my 8-foot par putt in on that one though. On the 11th I hit another wedge, this time a sand wedge, right over the flag but over the green. The chip was good but ran a little longer than I thought it would but I made the putt there also. I hit what might have been the best drive of the day on the par-5 12th as I had a 5-iron into the green. I pushed it right into the trap, then blasted it out of the wet sand across the green. Good shot, I just misjudged how much the sand would affect the shot. My chip hit the flag and I had a tap-in for par.
The wind was swirling around the entire time but by now it was getting pretty strong. I mis-clubbed on the par-3 13th and failed to get up and down and took my first bogey on the back side. From here, things started to fall apart. I hit my next drive solid but left and found myself among a bunch of bushes of some type, I have no idea what they are called. I found the ball and had a blind shot to a green protected by water left. I hit it solid but one of the bush-thingys grabbed it and deflected it short and left. I pitched up from there and two-putted for bogey.
The 15th played back into the wind and my drive wasn't too solid. I couldn't see it immediately after I hit it but I have to assume I got under it a little bit as it only went about 180 yards, leaving me about 210 yards into the green. I tried to get there with 3-wood but it tailed off to the right and found another one of these bush-thingys... and disappeared. This thing wasn't far off the edge of the fairway, in fact it was a bit short of the green and probably doesn't normally come into play. Today, it did. After a few minutes of poking and prodding I located my ball, managed to advance it sideways about 10 feet, pitched on and two putts later had a double bogey.
The 16th hole is a par-5 that has water in play at the end of the landing area for the drive and protected the left side of the fairway up toward the green. My drive was solid but hung out right just enough to catch the edge of the fairway bunker. I was only about 220 yards from the green but I had no chance of trying for the green due to the lip of the bunker. I hit a decent shot out with a 5-iron, wedged onto the green and just missed the putt for birdie.
We then come to the 17th hole, an uphill par-3 that played into the wind :
|The par-3 17th hole at Falcon Point|
The 18th is a par-4 that was playing into the wind and at 410 yards posed a problem on the second shot. I hit a good drive but still had about 185 yards to the hole. The green was protected by water to the right and in front, but by how much I wasn't completely sure. The pin was in the front left of the green but due to the wind and the water I felt it was too risky to try to get there. So I laid up with a 7-iron, nearly going too far and into the water. From here I could see that I had more room left than I thought and the water didn't come in front of the green quite as much as I suspected. Despite that, laying up was probably at least a coin flip compared to going for it. Anyway, I pitched on but missed the 12 footer for par to shoot 43 on the back and carded an 86 for the day.
In hindsight, yeah, maybe I didn't have as many bad swings as I thought. The ones I did have certainly found bad places though, which to be honest they really haven't done so all that much lately. The start I had didn't exactly put me in a confident mood. The wind played into it and some of the hole positions didn't help either. Overall, I liked the course. While it does have some quirky things about it, like how they use and set up some of those weird bushes, I tend to like quirky stuff (which is why I love course by Mike Strantz, like True Blue in Myrtle Beach).
Since playing here on Sunday I've messed around on the range and stuff and I think I figured out the shanking of the chips. I think its a matter of how I've been moving my shoulders into the ball, which is something I tend to do incorrectly on full shots, which leads to those weak leaking shots that fall off to the right. On the full shots I guess I have enough time and hand-eye coordination to recover with my hands enough to sometimes hit the ball somewhat straight, on the chip it ends up clanking off the hozel instead. So now I've been trying to correct that issue with all my swings and, so far, things look promising. I feel like I'm coming over the top, but not exactly... I'll never be able to explain it. I'll play again on Saturday so we'll see if we can make some progress on these issues. If not, we'll have to try using sorcery again to post a decent score.