Friday, September 02, 2005

So, How's the Golf Game?

And for that matter, how's poker going?

Ah yes, golf and poker. Where to start?

The golf game is in complete disarray right now. I didn't pick up a club for thirteen days during my Boulder vacation and the week that followed just to give myself a chance to re-energize. Umm...big mistake!

My first round since club championship happened to be the fourth leg of the Niagara District Men's Tour. I was in a solid 17th position overall through the first three tournaments (out of 56 members) and looked forward to moving closer to the top ten.

I shot an 85 that day, my worst score of the year.

To put how bad this score was into proper perspective, when I came into the clubhouse, about 15 others had finished their rounds already. My score was the worst on the board by SEVEN SHOTS!

Two beers later, I found that someone else had exceeded my score - I've found that no matter what the score, there's ALWAYS someone who posts a number worse than you! I ended up finishing the event T-44th out of 51 entrants and that 'performance' knocks me down to 22nd overall on the tour with only one event remaining.

The next day I had to go into battle again in the Newlands Cup quarterfinals against Ron, a 10 handicap. Ron is a pretty darn good ballstriker but has always suffered from the 'yips'. Lets put it this way: in the past I couldn't even look at the guy on the greens he was so lost.

Well, he's gone to the long putter and boy does it agree with him. Although my start must have made him consider walking in early. I was four holes up after four, only requiring pars when he bogeyed all of them. He finally got a stroke on number five and took advantage, with his par/net birdie beating my natural par, bringing him back to within three.

That par was the first of ELEVEN IN A ROW. This is a 10 handicap we're talking about! By the thirteenth hole, he had taken the lead on me and held it until fifteen, a 520 yard par five. He finally broke down a bit, pulling his second shot into the water and eventually made a nice six. However, my two putt par brought the match to all square. Sixteen was his last stroke hole: to this point, he had won all six previous stroke holes with par/net birdies...every one! So I felt I needed a natural birdie just to halve the hole and ended up trying to force a driver through a patch of trees unsuccessfully. I eventually picked up and conceded the hole. I was able to par the 200+ yard par three 17th to square the match again before hitting the par four 18th. We both hit great drives and mediocre seconds. I chipped poorly to 8 feet and missed, giving Ron a four-footer for the win. He picked the wrong time to miss his first short one...

We ended up having to go to the 10th hole for the playoff due to another tournament taking place, where I proceeded to pick up my first birdie of the day to win the match in 19 holes. I shot 77 to Ron's fantastic 79 and barely escaped. The semi-final match takes place Labour Day Monday.

I thought I got the game back but boy was I wrong. I got the opportunity to play some 'business golf' on Tuesday the 23rd at beautiful King's Forest Golf Club in Hamilton. Very hilly course and a true hidden gem. I shot another 85, making a triple, four doubles and four birdies during the crazy round. I'm usually a pretty consistent player but the game has certainly become erratic lately.

I followed up that display with an 82 last Saturday at the club in a game with my girlfriend and her mom. I hit about six greens in regulation that day and was completely lost. Unfortunately, we had the conclusion to the preliminary round of the Niagara Cup the next day, with individual match play as the format, thankfully my strength.

Well, at least I thought it was my strength. I got absolutely waxed Sunday, losing my match 3&1 (three down with one to play) and not getting any points (3 points were available: 1 for winning the front, 1 for the back and 1 for overall). Aaron, the monster of a dude I played, was hitting the ball at least 40 yards past me all day and just played beautifully in his first trip to St. Catharines, shooting 73 to my 79. Thankfully, the Niagara Cup is a team-based tournament and our side ended up defeating Hunters Pointe by a 16-14 margin, putting us into the finals that will take place in the middle of September.

My handicap has gone up a full stroke in less than a month. At this point, the season is almost over so I'm not going to get too concerned but I hated losing so badly to the guy, especially in match play.

To be continued...

2 comments:

  1. The long part about the Newlands Cup quarterfinals was terrific. I kept thinking about scooting down to find the ending and returning but stayed with it to the end. I did that with a book once and never again.

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  2. Thanks for the kind words again Dave! Love having you along for the ride!

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