Back on April 15th, I wrote about golf. On Saturday, I had one of the most perplexing rounds of golf I have had in a while.
That game, man.
It will make either a religious person out of you or an atheist and sometimes, both, on a single hole. I know this because I used the Lord’s name in vain quite a few times on Saturday. I also tried to reason with the Golf God’s (GG) and renounced religion entirely on several occasions.
I went with Rick, Michael, and Rick’s buddy, Jim, to Rolling Hills in Tempe. It is right on the edge of the Phoenix Zoo and is a course I am very familiar with, to be honest. I have played there a lot and used to enjoy it very much. Used to…
Let me start with the first hole. My tee shot hooked way left and I ended up sort of stuck underneath the framework of the netting that separates the driving range from the first fairway. Manmade hazard so I moved it to where I could hit it (without giving myself an advantage in any way) and made a nice approach shot that left me with a short pitch.
Recently, my pitching wedge has been my buddy. If it were a person, I would have been hanging out with it, taking it for a beer, and talking about life. Not Saturday. He/She/They abandoned me. Like the wedge, my putter and I have been friends lately, too.
I turned what should have been a nice par to start my round into a bogey like that. I didn’t sweat it, though. I’ve been starting off with double bogeys a lot lately so I counted it as a small victory. On to hole number two.
This hole has rarely been my friend. It’s a slight dogleg to the left and butts up against the backside of the driving range. For some reason, I often end up over in the shitty area between the green and the fence. I hit a pretty decent tee shot, though, and ended up with what should have been a nice pitch and putt. No such luck. Two pitches, two putts. Double bogey.
Hole three is a long one and I’ve donated plenty of balls to the Zoo over the years as it is always just a nice hook away. My drive was pretty tasty though and ended up with a shot at birdie if I had any idea how to play a short game. I snatched another double bogey from the jaws of a bird. At this point, in the back of my mind, I’m starting to have some doubts about my decision to play this game.
Hole four. This is a hole where I once hit and killed a fairly good-sized bird who was sitting on the top of one of the tall palm trees that make a half ring around the green. I still feel bad about this. My first tee shot was in the dirt near the fence that separates the course from the zoo so I hit another. This one was also left, but playable. I attempted to chip to the green, but my ability to get any loft on the ball was gone and I burned worms across the green and into the rough behind it. Another double. no
Hole five was when my cart partner, Jim, asked me if I was Irish. My tee shot looked bad but ended up being pretty good. I still managed to bogey the hole. Hole six was an asterisk in the score book because I picked up my ball and said, “enough.” At one point, I attempted to plant my wedge in the rough. Stupid wedge.
I’m totally in my own head on hole seven and eight at this point and not having any fun at all. When my game goes, it just goes, and I was struggling here. I did manage to finish each hole, but only because I was determined not to let the game best me. I am pretty sure I was nowhere close to par on either hole.
Hole number nine, though, is usually a good hole for me. I have birdied it several times in my life, and I shook off my cobwebs yet again and had great tee shot setting myself up for another par. My chip was decent, and I was on the green in two with a good chance to see my day turn around, but…. My fucking putter is an asshole. First par of the day, though, and feeling good as I made the turn.
Ten is a bastard. Dog leg left with some desert and scrubby shrubs in the way so you can’t really see the flag clearly. I hit another humdinger of a drive, though, and set myself up for a possible bird. Wedge was acting like it wanted to be my buddy again, even though I didn’t get the loft I wanted, but I two-putted myself to another par. Things were looking up. Confidence building.
Then eleven happened. First tee shot was a huge slice and into the water that was almost a fairway over. No biggie. It felt good, but just didn’t get it clean. The next two shots were in the desert to the left. Found them both (Jim pointed out my Irish luck again) but the wheels were off the tricycle again. I floundered. Triple bogey.
Twelve? Fuck twelve.
Thirteen? Same deal. Still couldn’t hit a goddamn putt to save my life and here is where I probably decided to end my relationship with the GG. Fourteen through 17 are a blur at this point. I had given up on the day, for the most part, and all of the facets of my game had forsaken me. I did get a little bit of feel for the wedge again so we might have a chance at hanging out socially, but I’m not sure I can commit. The putter came around, too, but it was too late at this point.
On 18, I hit two tee shots and that was the end of my day. We were playing from the blues (bad idea) and neither got past the ladies’ tee box. I decided to cut my losses and felt very good about my decision to just relax and enjoy watching the others. That part of it, hanging with those three dudes, was great.
I honestly thought about quitting golf all together on Saturday. Multiple times I thought, “Why do I do this to myself?” But then, I decided, I’m going to work on my game and do my best to improve. This means making time to go to the driving range and working on each facet of the game.
I was also reminded that there are two courses in Rangeley that I want to play a lot more, so I can’t quit. I might even take a lesson.
See you tomorrow.
All 18 holes of Rolling Hills in their stupid glory.