The Round That Got Away
I believe it is undeniable, no matter who you are, you get on the course one day and nothing works. We’ve seen pros shoot rounds of way too many shots over par. For the amateur, it’s that round that can be 7 to 10 shots over your average. A round like that is nothing but pure frustration. Oh, you can and will hit some bad shots in a round but these rounds have more bad shots than usual.
My regular golf partners end up calling these practice rounds. We turn them into practice rounds because we may hit a second or third ball. Frustrated by the bad shot we drop a ball and re-hit. Sometimes the redo is good (we always say the second guy is a better golfer) and sometimes it’s as bad or worse. When we have a game like this we may use the first shot or the second shot. I’ve even seen a third shot taken. The idea is to try to figure out what you are doing wrong. What is different in your swing, etc. We call these do-overs “Sochers”, named after a good friend who used to play with us, until he moved. We still get together and play on occasion. The difference between a Mulligan and a Socher is you can take one Mulligan but as many Sochers as you like.
Some people say that this is not golf. I say Golf is a game, a game to be enjoyed. The USGA seems to agree. They ask people to move to a forward Tee box based upon handicap and how far you hit the ball. There is a big difference between playing a round of golf and playing a competitive round of golf. We don’t record practice round scores. Scores that are artificially low will hurt a golfer by giving him or her a handicap lower than it should be. These are known as “Hollywood Handicaps”. They may make you feel good but will screw you if you play in any type of tournament or competition. Quite often, trying to understand what went wrong, we may hit a second ball but actually play the original shot.
I usually play two rounds of golf each week with my usual groups. I also play a competitive round on Wednesdays when the Senior Men’s Club plays in the morning. Like everyone I would like to have a low handicap, however I want it to be real and not artificially lowered.
Let me get back to my horrible round of golf. I actually didn’t hit that poorly off the tee, hitting 12 fairways and missing only 2. On the 4 par 3’s, I hit 2 greens, 1 in the rough and 1 in the water. I also putted OK not having any 3 putts and 3 – 1 putts. My real problem was my fairway shots and my chipping. My fairway shots were topped or hit off line leaving longer chip shots. My chips were also not too good leaving a lot of them more than 10 feet short or off line. Believe me I ended the round quite frustrated.
I started this website to help people enjoy the game of golf. I for one never let a frustrating round linger in my psyche. Get over it. Next time will be better, I hope. I put away my clubs and we headed to the bar. A couple of scotches later, I was totally over the round. I was also totally sober. We said our goodbyes, went to our separate homes saying ‘see you in the morning’. The next morning was Senior Golf which is competitive, either individually or in teams picked by the computer based upon handicap.
Wednesday morning came and I was teamed with my friends Bob and Jerry. Our fourth player had to leave early and so we wound up with Mr. Blind Draw. That’s actually immaterial, and so let’s get back to my game. On our first tee, hole 15 (shotgun start), I drove the ball in the fairway. Next came the so called bane of my game, the dreaded fairway shot which I topped thin and was frustrated. I said out loud, “what the heck am I doing. I don’t get it”. Bob said he felt I was standing still over the ball for a long time before swinging. He said like Kevin Na syndrome. It was longer than he usually saw me stand still before hitting. With this in mind, I went to my next shot and consciously pulled the trigger sooner. I hit a decent shot. I still double bogeyed that hole and the next. I then hit a great tee shot on the par 3 17th and sunk the birdie putt. The 17th hole is a shot over water with a large bunker in front of the green. I think this helped me get some confidence back. I continued with a par on 18. Playing my game with my pre-shot routine, set-up, and swing thought (including pull the trigger),I shot a 42 on the front and a 43 on the back for an 85. My 18 handicap gave me a net 67. What a difference.
Different things creep into our games. This was a prime example of a golf partner seeing something I was doing that could be causing my problem. It seems it was so.
The moral is Don’t get down on yourself. Keep your emotions in check. Ask a playing partner to watch you and see if they see anything different you are doing. We can all use that extra pair of eyes for help.
As always I am open to your opinions and welcome your feedback.