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Adventures in the Caribbean: General: Golf:

The Round from HELL

Ok, so I?ve been hitting the ball fairly well lately. After a slow start to the season, I came around and managed to get the handicap down to a 9.5 index, a 10 for all you non-golfers. At one point a few years ago, I had it to an 8 for a few glorious moments, but with age, I fear those days may be gone. Anyway, like I said, the ball had been fairly good to me lately, a lot of scores consistently in the upper 70s. Nice.

Feeling fairly confident with my game, having just shot a 79 the previous Sunday at my home course, and a 2 over par 37 the previous Wednesday on Mens night, I went into the yearly tournament put on by a friend and colleague, the ?Mertoni Invitational?, with high hopes. It was held at the Stratford Country Club, a course I have played before, in fact I was a member there for 4 years back in the late 80s, early 90s. I didn?t think I?d have much of a problem shooting in the low 80s, perhaps even in the upper 70s if I had a fairly good round.


My opening drive was fairly good, about 95 yards off the first green on the 342 yard 1st hole, right side of the fairway on the short stuff. An easy sand wedge I thought to myself as I selected my club. I?ll just pitch this high at the front of the green & have the ball check up, as I envisioned a nice high shot, an almost vertical drop & BAM, the ball would stop giving me a birdie opportunity, a par for sure.


I must have peeked because I sculled the shot (not something I usually do too often, but it does happen from time to time) off the back of the green. A chip on and 2 putts later, bogie. OK, not too bad, an iffy recovery from my mistake, no up and down, but I can get a birdie later on.


It went rapidly down hill from there. Next hole, I drew my driver from the bag, fairly confident that I can bang one down the middle, as I?ve been doing fairly well for the past month or two.


SLICEOMATIC!! What the hell? Where did THAT come from? It sliced off into the long grass at the edge of a thick wood. Tree city. Man, no shot at the green. OK, damage control, lets chip out, I can still make the green in 3 and one putt for my par.


My chip out sucked, another miss hit. The grass was so long it grabbed my club & I didn?t even make it back to the fairway. OK I thought, I?m about 165 out, a nice firm 6 iron & I can recover.


Into the bunker guarding the front of the green. Not only was it IN the bunker, it was right at the back lip (farthest from the green) so I couldn?t even get a stroke at the ball, almost unplayable. It couldn't have been in a worse spot commented one of my playing partners. A quick chop & it?s out, but still not on the green. In case you?re counting, I?ve already shot 4 strokes, I?m supposed to be in the hole now, and I?m not even on the green! A chip on and 2 putts? a 7. TRIPLE BOGIE!! What a nightmare. I?m 4 over par after 2 holes & I had envisioned 4 over par MAX for the entire front 9!!

It quickly got worse.

The next hole is a par 5. A good drive, and then a 3 wood into the green, I can putt for eagle I think to myself.


I slice a drive again. Where is this slice coming from? I?m behind a stand of trees. Of course I hit them on my next shot & the ball drops straight down. Luckily, it?s a par 5 and I can still reach the green, which has this huge bunker guarding the front of it. I smack a 5 iron. Perfect stroke, the ball sails gracefully, unerringly, directly at the pin. You guessed it, right into the huge bunker directly in front of the green. The bunker has sand something akin to concrete, and about a 3 or 4 foot lip in front of me so I decide to try & pick the ball out rather than the traditional sand shot. Mistake, it sails up in the air, directly over the pin, and the rest of the green to the rough behind the green. Sigh. I?m getting pretty frustrated at this point. Chip on, 2 putts, a double bogie. What a nightmare.

OK, I think to myself, that?s 6 over, I can still recover if I can get things together.


I hit a beautiful 8 iron directly at the pin on the next hole, a par three. The ball hits the green, but checks up & I am still a fair distance away from the pin. The greens are like greased lightning. Touch the ball, & it goes a mile. Very tough putting, & the pin placement are just evil. Well, I think to myself, just get it close & tap it in for your par.


I putt the ball, it has to go up a slight rise, then down a slope to the hole. It makes it to the top of the rise, but doesn?t have enough momentum to make it down the grade to the hole. Next putt sends it 4 feet past. 3 putts. Man, when it rains, it pours.

OK?.re-group, lets get this game in gear. I guard against the evil slice which has suddenly come out of nowhere to haunt me & end up duck-hooking it into the rough barely 100 yards off the next tee block. YIKES!! When will this nightmare end? OK, OK?re-group, I grab my 16 degree tight lies and make a fairly passable recovery shot, but it takes a bad hop & comes to rest behind the only tree between me and the green. One of the guys I?m with comments that if it weren?t for bad luck, I wouldn?t have any luck at all. Of course, on the next shot, it hits the tree & drops straight to the ground. I mean, that figured, didn?t it? I proceed to skull yet another ball over the green, the rest is a bit fuzzy because I was seeing red at this point. Needless to say, I think I ended up with a 7 or something horrendous like that, maybe it was an 8? I?m trying to block it out of my mind.

Well, the game is pretty much over now, & I?ve only played 5 holes. I feel like just walking off the course. I manage to redeem myself with a decent drive on the next hole, leaving me about 170 yards into the green, which is on the other side of a creek. My ball is about 4 inches off the fairway in the rough. (You can guess what?s coming, can?t you?) I take an extra club and hit a 5 iron, just to make sure I cross the water.


I push it & it sails perfectly into some long reeds near the other side of the creek never to be seen again. Another skull over the green (that?s 3 so far this round!!) and I make an incredible putt to save a 6. I?m actually happy with a double bogie!! On the walk between the 6th green & the 7th tee, a wonderful man who is in the foursome INSISTS that I have a beer. He buys me one saying that I NEED it & won?t take no for an answer. What a Samaritan. :-)

A few more miserable holes & I can go home. I drive well on 7, but miss the green right. I?m on the fringe, but can?t get up & down. Still, the way things are going, a bogie isn?t that bad! The next hole, a par three that I have birdied & often parred in the past, is blurry. I remember an unbelievably errant tee shot, and a bunch more shots adding up to alot. I think I'm trying to supress the memory! I drive well on 9 but hit my next shot fat (why not? What else can go wrong) and miss the green. Chip on & 2 putts. I decide to stay & finish the round, what the hell, I can?t do any worse?right?

Wait & see! 9 holes & I STILL don?t have a single par. The last time I played the front 9 there I think I was 3 or 4 over?for the entire 9!!


Miss the green on 10, but chip up to an inch, almost roll it in for birdie, a tap in par. I feel better, at least until the next hole. Decent drive, 170 yards left into a narrow long green over a creek with woods on the right side, OB water on the left. I take aim, swing, and watch my ball sail uncaringly straight into the middle of the woods on the right. CRACK it goes as it hits a tree. By some miracle I am able to find it and manage to chip out of the woods. Same story, chip on, 2 putts, another double bogie. Sigh. By now it?s becoming comical. The next hole is a par 5, dogleg to the right. If you smack a good drive over some tall maples from the elevated tee, you can make the turn & go for the green in 2. Well, I figure my round is already screwed beyond redemption so why not try it.


My drive sails straight into the first huge maple ? way up & drops to the ground 50 yards in front of me, hopelessly blocked from making the dogleg turn on the next shot. Figures. I mean, it?s the worst possible result, although I suppose I COULD have gone into the creek, yes that would have been worse, but not much. I pull off some miracle shots & manage a bogie. Not bad from where I was after my drive.

A short par three presents itself. I hit the back fringe with my tee shot but manage to 3 putt. Sigh.

Now the next hole really caps it. It really brings the ridiculousness of the round out. It?s A narrow chute, downhill, impenetrable bush on the left & trees on the right. The fairway is about 25 yards wide. Remember that slice that appeared out of nowhere? Well it decided to come back sending my ball right into the woods. It hit one of the first trees, dropping to the ground with no possible hope of making the green. I mean, you couldn?t even see it from where I was. I chip out onto the fairway. OK?a sweet 6 iron should get me to the green no problem.


I don?t know what happened, I only pushed it a wee bit 4 or 5 yards off center, but it disappeared into the creek guarding the front of the green. Figures. You have to laugh at this point, it?s just getting ridiculous.

I decide I?m standing too far away from the ball, so adjust my address accordingly & BAM, sail a drive right down the middle on the next par 5. About time, where have you been? I figured out the problem with my driver, but on the 15th hole!! I manage to put my approach into a bunker and get out 2 shots later. By this point I?m past caring.

ANOTHER PAR on the next hole?WOW, that?s 2 this round. Maybe I should join the tour. LOL

I bash a PERFECT drive on 17, hit the green in regulation, but 3 putt!!! What a joke. I?m openly laughing at this point at the ridiculousness of my situation. 18, same thing, perfect drive, screw up my approach though & have to chip on. Wicked pin placement but manage to 2 putt. I?m glad to get away with a bogie.

After the score was added up, I?m shocked to see I actually broke 100. I put 97 on the card, 94 has to go in the computer, (equitable stroke control, I am actually supposed to be a 10 handicap, you wouldn?t know it by this round though). After it was all said & done, I was never so glad to leave a golf course. It took 5 ? hours to play, AFTER waiting 1 1/2 hours to tee off!. It was my worst round in at least 10 years, perhaps longer.

You know, they say a bad day on the golf course is better than the best day at work.

I?m not so sure.

Filed under Golf, Sep 7, 2005

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