The first hole was a straightaway par-4 with tress lined along both sides of the fairway. I hit a decent drive but pulled my wedge shot to the green to the left side of the green, leaving myself with about 40-50 feet for birdie. I hit a decent putt but still left it about 6-8 away for par. I thought I made that putt but it tailed away on me. From where I was a 3-putt wasn't a terrible sin, especially on the first hole.
|The par-4 second hole|
|The par-3 fourth hole|
|The tee shot on the par-5 fifth hole|
Anyway, despite this issue I found myself only two-over coming into the par-5 ninth hole :
|The view from the tee of the ninth hole|
I never did find the first ball. While the trees thinned out a bit over there I just never saw it. Of course, I have no idea just how far the ball ended up travelling or exactly how far left I hit it. I might have clipped a tree branch along the way. Whatever the case, now I lie three in the fairway, about 195 yards from the hole. The green looked as if it was sorta tucked toward the trees to the right so I had to be sure if I missed the green it was to the left. Using 5-wood I managed to hit a pretty good shot to about 25 feet left of the hole and two-putted for a bogey. Yep, what could have been.
To the back nine we go and my drive on this hole was kinda pathetic. Granted, it was humid and now the club feels like it wants to start slipping and such but I only managed to drive it about 200 yards, leaving myself a 7-iron into a 353-yard hole. I reached the green but just barely and walked away with a par despite the lack of power with either shot.
|The 13th green|
|The view from the 14th tee|
The 15th is a par-5 that had a hazard left and another that crossed the fairway about 250 yards from the tee. I managed to navigate my ball over that crossing hazard with a rather poor layup shot but at least I was still on grass. My wedge to the green was solid for once and I now had about a 12-footer for birdie that I would go on to make. Despite the way I was hitting the ball I was even par for the back nine. I'm not sure how long I can keep this up to be quite honest.
|The short par-4 16th hole|
|A look at the par-3 17th hole|
|The approach to the green of the par-5 18th|
I decided to just punch a 9-iron short of the hazard and leave myself with some sort of wedge to the green. I now had what should have been a very comfortable gap wedge left from here but I hit another of those annoying leakers to the right. Good thing there was plenty of green over there so I was still putting for birdie. I had about 40 feet left but at least this putt was simple compared to the last couple of chances. I gave it a good rap but left it about two feet short, close enough for a par and a score of 37 on the back side, giving me a 76 for the round.
I still don't know how I'm doing it.
I made a few putts. I somehow hit nine greens in regulation. The tees I played are a little short (about 6100 yards) but I will have to say that the course was playing a little long as some recent rain has prevented any real roll outs on the drives (I even had a couple of pitch marks in the fairways to cover up). Outside of that wild drive on the ninth hole I never had any trouble keeping the ball in play. Regardless, I need to figure out what I'm not doing to get the clubface squarely into the back of the ball. I'm sure its only some degree of hand-eye coordination is keeping the ball relatively straight right now.
As I type this on Friday, I have hit the range a couple of times since this round. Yesterday I decided to strengthen my grip by turning the hands a good bit to the right on the club. I do remember that there was a time in the past that my hands would creep further and further to the left, just because it feels more comfortable sometimes. While it can be hard to tell with range balls it did feel as if I was making solid contact with the stronger grip.
Another problem that keeps creeping up is my alignment. I've always been bad about aiming further right than I think I am (a lot of us do) but in an effort to "fix" that tendency I tend to end up with my shoulders angled left in comparison to my body. Sometimes my hips end up that way as well. I believe that can cause my weak leakers as I try to correct all of that with my arms and/or hands. For whatever reason it seems more prominent with the longer irons than anything else.
In any case I'll give it a go again tomorrow. I'll make a conscious effort to align myself a bit better and see if the stronger grip and a better turn helps get me more on track. Or I'll shoot 95. We'll see!