Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Making the Turn at the 9-Hole Muni

While on vacation at the Jersey Shore I did not see Snookie (or sadly Bruce Springsteen) but I did get to play a little golf. Asbury Park (or actually the next town over called Ocean) has a nice little municipal 9-hole golf course called Colonial Terrace Golf Course (watch the video). The course was less than 10 minutes from our rental house. The golf websites (not the city website) claim that it is a par-35, 3,704 yard course. They lied! It is actually 2,600 yards, but it was in relatively nice shape and it only cost $20.

I picked up a scorecard and put it in my back pocket and never looked at it again and now I cannot find it to provide more detail. As an aside, this little 9-hole golf course is on my GolfLogix Blackberry app. Every course that I have played since I bought the app has been mapped!

I played on Monday and the course was relatively empty. I walked the course with SO and she took some pictures and admired the wildlife. I played two balls and worked on my game. We played 9 holes in about 1 1/2 hours and then went to the beach. The two par-5 holes are about 440 to 450 yards and play as difficult par-4s. I birdied one of the par-5s and parred the other. The course was little better than your typical 9-hole muni course and the temperature was in the 80s and the humidity was not too bad so it was a nice walk in the park.

On Friday we went back to play Colonial Terrace again. I knew it would be crowded on a Friday during the summer so we got to the course at about 6 p.m. thinking that would be late for people teeing off. The starter told us that the last group had gone out 30 minutes ago so I thought I was home-free and would not catch up to the group until the last couple of holes. However, when I looked over to the first tee box, there was one group on the tee box and two groups in carts waiting. I was perplexed! The starter told me that those golfers were "making the turn". Huh, it is only a 9-hole course. The light bulb finally went off and I looked at the scorecard and there was a "back 9". The starter smiled and said "you get to play 18 holes for the price of 9". We put the clubs back in the car and went back to the house and enjoyed together time with the family.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Prelude to Disaster

Ever since I got hit on the noggin with a golf ball I have been remiss about keeping up on the blog. The event leading up to the faithful ricochet to the forehead was my disastrous golf game earlier on the same day. On Saturday before leaving for vacation, I played golf with my friend the Deer Hunter.

The Deer Hunter e-mailed me earlier in the week telling me that she had just scored her third hole-in-one! She has been playing golf for about five years! We played at the Raptor course at Grayhawk Golf Club, which is the Deer Hunter's home course. With her "Nothing but Net" discount, the greens fee was only $15. That is the best value in Arizona golf. Grayhawk has two 18-hole championship layouts, the Raptor and the Talon. Both are extremely challenging and very well-maintained. The Raptor course was designed by Tom Fazio and plays to 7,135 yards from the back tees. I played from the Palo Verde tees which are about 6,600 yards with a course rating of 71.4 and a slope rating of 137. The Deer Hunter did not play from the girls' tees, but played from the mens' forward tees.

I started off driving my tee shots right down the middle on the first three holes, but missed the greens with my approach shot and settled for bogeys. I felt like I gave a shot away on the 2nd hole, but was happy with a bogey on the 460 yard par-4 3rd hole. After that the wheels fell off! The 4th hole is a par-5 and and I thought I would make a par, but made a double-bogey 7. Sevens on the scorecard quickly kill your round. I had a 49 on the front 9 with 5 bogeys and 4 double bogeys and no pars! I finally made a par on the par-5 11th hole, but it was just a respite from my string of bogeys and double-bogeys. I shot a 48 on the back 9 for a 97. It was ugly in every way. I hit my drives left and right, but rarely straight, and I hit only one approach shot onto the green. The only thing that kept my score under 100 was that I chipped and putted OK. I was plus 16 on the 10 par-4 holes!

On the other hand, the Deer Hunter hit her drives long and straight (or at least on the grass areas). She easily outdrove me and the other male twosome that played with us on almost every hole. She hit a lot of great approach shots, some of which had enough spin that the ball spun backward when it hit the green. Pretty impressive! And when she missed the green or made a poor shot, she scrambled to save par or bogey. I do not think that she had any double-bogeys and she never seemed to be in big trouble. I do not remember her final score, but I bet it was in the high 70s or low 80s. The Raptor course is relatively tight and if you do not hit the ball straight you will lose a lot of balls in the desert (take it from someone that knows).

I posted my score and chalked this one up to a bad day. Little did I know that my day would be getting worse very soon!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Greetings from Asbury Park

I am on vacation in Asbury Park, New Jersey, the home of the Stone Pony bar where Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and Bon Jovi played early in their careers. We saw Peter Framption at the Stone Pony on Monday night. Framption is about 60 years old and has a buzz cut (pull out your "Frampton Comes Alive" album and check out the hair!).

But my followers are never going to believe this story! I played golf in Phoenix last Saturday before flying to New York. I did not play very well so I was working on my swing in the Giant. The Giant has been my best golf purchase. I use the Giant at least a few times a week and really enjoy it. Until I finally got smart, I hit the ball right into the middle of the Giant and finally put a couple of golf ball-size holes into the netting. Now I move around and hit the ball into different parts of the netting. Now back to the story.

I was working on my swing and I hit the golf ball and it went through one of the holes. Usually, this is not a big deal and the ball hits the brick fireplace, bounces around and does not cause any major problems (a few golf ball-size indentations in the wall). However, this time, the ball ricocheted back through the same hole in the netting and hit me square in the forehead. What are the odds of that happening? First of all, the ball that is going on an upward trajectory somehow hits the brick and bounces back through the same hole. Then I happened to be directly in line with the ball and it hits me in the forehead. Luckily, I was just dazed and confused (and did not lose an eye or get a concussion). My forehead was bleeding and I am thinking that I am supposed to catch a plane in 4 hours and I need to go to the emergency room and get my head stitched up. I immediately put ice on my forehead and kept it there for more than an hour to try to keep the swelling down. The bleeding stopped and the cut on my forehead was not bad, but I had a golf ball-sized knot with "Titleist" stamped on my forehead. By Thursday, the swelling is completely down and the cut is mostly healed, but next week I need to go out and buy a new Giant!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Be the Ball!

After last week's back-to-back 86s, I was excited to play this weekend. It is monsoon season so we are getting some rain and overcast skies. I set up a game with the Gardener for Sunday morning at the Gold Course at the Wigwam Golf Resort and Spa. On Saturday, I worked on a memorandum with Chad Feldheimer to present to the Pinal County Board of Supervisors. It drizzled off and on and was overcast most of the day. Late in the afternoon it cleared up and was beautiful. I went to the driving range and hit balls to get ready for my round on Sunday.

Sunday morning was overcast and drizzling as I drove west to Litchfield Park. The Gold Course is a Robert Trent Jones, Sr.-designed course with a Midwestern feel and a lot of left-to-right doglegs. It is one of the grad dames of Arizona golf. From the monster tees, the Gold Course measures 7,430 yards with a course rating of 74.5 and a slope rating of 135. That is more golf course than the Gardener and I were prepared to chew off. We played from the par-72 championship tees, which are 6,830 yards with a course rating of 72.3 and a slope rating of 130. The course was in wonderful condition. The fairways were very green and the rough was lush. The greens were smooth and rolling true, although they were a little slow due to the rain. The ball was not rolling much in the fairway so 6,800 yards was plenty of golf for us. If you miss the fairway, you are oftentimes in "jail" in the trees or in some pretty heavy rough so it is hard to reach the green in regulation.

It rained on and off, but never hard enough for us to stop playing and there was no lightning. The temperature (not my score) was in the 7os. The Gardener and I both played terribly on the front 9. I shot a 48 and he shot a 50. The only positive was that we played good "cart golf". If I hit my tee shot left, the Gardner followed suit. If he hit his tee shot right, I hit mine further right. My only par was on the 219 yard par-3 3rd hole. I hit my 1-hybrid pin-high on the right edge of the green and two-putted for my par. I had four double-bogeys on the front 9. Surprisingly, I putted the ball pretty well; otherwise it would have been even uglier.

The Gardener and I both decided that we would play better on the back 9 and we did. I started off on the par-5, 590 yard 10th hole with a reasonably good drive (compared to the front 9) and a good 1-hybrid that found the fairway bunker. The fairway bunker has two palm trees in the middle and I was right behind them (that does not seem fair!). I made a bogey and thought, "not again!". However, on the back 9, I had 6 bogeys and 3 pars and no double bogeys for a 42. The Gardener started driving the ball long and straight down the middle and, even with a few terrible shots, carded a 41 on the back 9 for a 91. On the back 9 instead of fiddling with my ball position, hands and clubhead alignment, I just focused on my body alignment, swinging easy and seeing the club hit the back of the ball.

I played the par-3 and par-4 holes at one under bogey, which is pretty normal for me, but I usually make one or two pars on the par-5 holes and nothing worse than bogey. Today, I played the four par-5 holes at one over bogey, instead of two under bogey, which is the difference between a 90 and an 87. I had 35 putts (including putts from the fringe) with no 3-putts. I also hit some good shots out of the sand and had one up-and-down from the greenside bunker.