September 15, 2006
The numbers on a golf scorecard tell a story about a round, but the score only provides a small glimpse of the total picture.
The seemingly endless down-the-fairway, on-the-green, two-putts-for-par holes by highly skilled golfers are only occasionally matched by the rest of us, for whom bogey golf is either the norm or a worthy goal.
Our rounds tend to be far more adventurous, as shown in a recent match at Shawnee Country Club.
John Eustis and I were matched up against Dave Pyne and Rich Phillips, two very pleasant gentlemen who spotted us two strokes each. The match began uneventfully enough, but then we watched Phillips steer a drive into the edge of the woods along the second fairway.
Since he was the guy I was playing against, this was a good chance to take a hole from him. I’m rarely able to take advantage of this kind of opportunity, however. Instead, I watched helplessly as my own drive hooked toward the woods.
It bounced against a tree, dropped hard to the right and down onto the cart path, smacked another tree, bounced onto the path again, and finally dribbled to a stop on the pavement.
Phillips hit a nice punch shot out of trouble, made a good lay up, and hit a smooth wedge shot onto the green, about 30 feet from the hole.
After taking a free drop from the cart path, I boogered a 6-iron about 40 yards down the fairway, and then tried to hit a 190-yard miracle recovery with a hybrid club. The ball started drawing left, hit another tree, and bounced right, stopping in the fairway adjacent to a sprinkler head about 75 yards out.
I then hit a sharp sand wedge that spun to a halt about a foot or so from the hole.
Phillips missed his putt, and conceded my “routine” par.
Two holes later, Phillips made a beautiful drive on a long par-3 to a spot about 20 feet from the hole. Meanwhile, I hit an intended draw that didn’t.
The ball bounced about 30 feet in the air when it hit the cart path to the right of the green, and stopped in the rough, with a high-rising sand trap between the hole and me.
I then flopped a shot that just cleared the sand, bounced forward out of the greenside fringe on the other side, and rolled about 40 feet to tap-in range.
Our pars matched, and Phillips began muttering–as well he should have.
Some slow players ahead helped us finish the match well past sunset, and we could barely see anything as we approached the eighth tee, our final hole. We watched each other’s drives, and could only just make out the tee shot trajectories.
All four drives landed in the fairway, however. Pyne and Eustis then hit decent shots toward the left rough, past the 100-yard marker. As soon as my second shot left the club, I called out that it looked like it was drawing left and would end up between the 150- and 100-yard markers. That’s where we eventually found it.
Phillips hit what sounded like a very good approach with a fairway wood. We couldn’t see it. He thought it went left, and searched in vain for his ball in the gathering darkness.
We helped him look for at least the required five minutes, but it was no use.
With Phillips out of the hole, Pyne, Eustis and I managed to hit our third shots either onto or near the green. We couldn’t actually see the balls land, but could only hear them thump onto the turf, and walk toward the sound.
Eustis and I made our “routine” par putts, and won the match.
These weren’t the only odd bounces our foursome experienced, by any means. In fact, these holes were pretty much typical of the whole match.
Just the same, I wouldn’t mind discovering what a boring round filled with routine pars feels like