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Monday, May 19, 2008


Mountain Brook

We had to go back to Mountain Brook, even without waiting for our Birthday(s) to come around, cuz they had a deal for $19 . . . even with the drive all the way out to the Superstitions, too good to pass up.

Like I said before, Brian Whitcomb has done some interesting courses, especially the Back 9s, and we were hoping to discover new subtleties . . . Mr Science had a score to settle with the 3 holes that would be Amen Corner if this were Augusta, but no handy handle occurs to me . . . and I'm always looking to name things, like at my old home course, Walden on Lake Conroe, we called 11-12-13 The Perilous Peninsula . . . never really caught on . . .

It's weird to me, but certain holes on certain golf courses are just going to get you no matter how many times you play it, until you play it enough, and other holes you are going to get for a while, anyway . . . over and over, after one of us hit a shot, we'd say, "yeah, I remember that from last time" . . .

I keep thinking it'll be different, because now I've got the big sticks, my new cobra metals, that I just hit so much further than before -- that now eagles on par 5s will come my way, and easy birdies on par4s, even long par 4s, because there is just no distance too far, in my confident mind . . . like on the par 5 # 3. . . I remember floundering around, hitting shots thru the electrical wickets, still managing a bogie, but this time I was in the middle of the fairway, only 190 away, so I needed to hit a half 7wood . . . it was still long and left, I chunked my 3rd into a sand trap and made double bogey . . . I KNOW if I hit a 5iron instead (the easiest shot in golf, the 5iron layup on a par 5), it'd be hard NOT to make birdie, but I want an Eagle! I'm still 7 behind Mr Science!

I don't mean I'm giving short-shrift to the other holes, I'm still trying to birdie them -- almost holed a chip on #2, that bounced off the pin to tapin distance -- I'm just trying to accentuate what I think is the strength of my game now, if you see what I mean . . . so I was glad when we finally got around to another par 5, #9 . .. but it was a little long for me to reach, against the wind. Even after 2 strong shots, I had 60+ yards to the very elevated green from the right rough, which was fine, with a good look at a lot of green to work with. But I soft-pedaled my half-wedge only on the front, putted uphill past the pin to the fringe, then missed the 15 ft comebacker. Meanwhile, Mr Science was playing military golf, snap hook left (an affliction, all-a-sudden!), a flared 3wood right, then a jerked 7iron left of the green at the bottom of a woolly swale 15ft below the putting surface. But natch, he lobbed his ball softly up ontop, 8 ft below the pin, and coolly drained the par. I've seen him do it before, too, wadn't no accident.

So I am RESOLUTE about #10, another par 5, and two strong shots into the wind leaves me 50 yds short of the green; Mr Science was behind me in the fairway, say 90 or 100 yds away. He lazily hit his ball up on the elevated green, 15 ft below the pin, but on the lower tier, a good shot, but a tough birdie. I hit mine as well as I'm going to, and it wound up 20 ft below the pin not quite on the same line. So I putted first, and guessed wrong about which way the ball would break going up the ledge to the upper tier . . . but a tap-in par . . . duffers should not complain about such things. . . I would have bet that Mr Science would have made his after watching mine, but he didn't.

Well, this brings us to the three holes that have no name, 11-12-13.

Mr Science puzzled while we watched the group in front of us clear the landing area, "I can see the water from here! Why didn't I see it last time?" He was very perplexed . . . but he was even more perplexed when he faded his ball (windblown, too, I should say) right back in the water . . . That would be cause for club-throwing for me, but he just went to the back of the tee box to watch my shot, mumbling his calculus to himself like a catechism. I hope we go back this August to see him hit that shot again . . . 8^D . . . I myself put a water anti-lock on my ball and wound up in the gravel at the back of the dogleg around the water . . . that actually seemed familiar, too . . . 8^D . . .dangit . . . I chunked 3 straight shots from there to the green then 3jacked for a 7 without going in the water. Amazing. Mr Science meanwhile bravely hit his 3rd shot over the water, off the back of the green, and it was simple matter for him to chipon to kickin distance for his bogey -- if one is not clear about the differences between our games that could be it in a nutshell. His watery bogey and my dry 7. . . 8^/ . . .

Convinced that he had thrown the curse, Mr Science hit a confident shot to the fat part of the green on the par 3, despite the gusty wind. I tried too many concepts, tried to hit a choke-down, punched 5iron with a fade to hold it against the wind and wound up with a weak toe hit that wound up short-sided in a woolly swale between the green and the water. I chunked that up within a couple feet of the pin for a backhand par while Mr Science labored over his birdie putt, which for a' that, was just another tapin par.

On the next hole, a dogleg left around the same water hazard, Mr Science bravely smashed his ball out over the water and let the wind bring it back to the middle of the fairway. When I complimented his fortitude, he looked sheepish: "I didn't mean to pull it that far out, nor slice it that much!"

Inexplicably, I jerked my drive straight out into the water on a wind-cheating beeline. So I reloaded and punched it out into the middle of the fairway. "I guess I should have been more defensive in the first place," I said. Mr Science only grunted contemptuously his agreement that my folly was evident . . . 8^D . . . It was just like #10, we both wound up below the pin up on a shelf in the middle of the green, and neither of us could figure the break, tho' we had the speed right. We call my 6 a "Virtual Par" and his 4 a Real Par.

on the par 3 #14 Mr Science implacably hit his 7 wood below the pin for another birdie putt. I had hit so many shots the same as before that I was looking forward to this shot, which I remembered well, a 4iron above the pin, in the same place. I was already rehearsing my birdie putt, correcting the misread from the time before. But like the star-crossed Paul Goydos at The Players playoff on #17, my ball ballooned up into the wind that blew it 40 yds offline. The only good news was I found 2 more balls in the rocky acequia before I made my way to the drop zone for a pitch and 2 putts for a 5. Mr Science missed his putt and here he might have become a little irritated finally with the greens. . . they weren't really bumpy, but they didn't roll true for us, anyway.

On the par 4 #15 Mr Science hit a good shot in the middle of the fairway, while I flared a big banana ball off the grass. We went to his ball first and he came up surprisingly short of the green for some reason. We went for my ball, which was easily found, way down the right side in the gravel by the cart path, only an 8iron away, but when I looked up from my practice swing all I could see was electrical high-wires between me and the green . . . "If you hit one, you get a do-over" said Mr Science, citing the rule book. It didn't seem likely to me, but sure enough, when I hit, the whoosh was followed by the eerie pik-uie-e-e-e of the ball glancing off one of the high-tensile cables. So I pulled another ball out and placed it ready to hit again, but when I checked my alignment I saw my ball on the fringe in front of the green. I started to back away and pick up my ball, but Mr Science drawing up on his encyclopedic knowledge said, "That ball is already in play, now!" So I tried to hit it, but I was freaked, and hit a weak slice into the green side bunker. I shoulda tried to hit that top wire again. When we got up to the green, I could see that not only was my first ball puttable, in a Texas Wedge Way, if you know what I mean, but my 2nd had fallen into a morass of footprints and improperly raked sand. Disgruntled, I said "F**** IT!" I'm playing the first ball, that 2nd was just a provisional! And look at this sand!"

"By all means", said Mr Science mildly, if you feel you have been mistreated . . . " . . . 8^D. . . He proceeded to chip-up within a clublength for another par, while I almost holed out my chip from the fringe. . . "Dang, that would have been nasty, if that had gone in!" I barked.

On the drive to the next hole we noticed a home by the tee was having a party: 8 or 9 golfcarts with little flags of all sorts were parked in the driveway in a very practiced fashion; as we drove by the back yard, we could see 20 odd people in the pool, drinking and laughing while they bobbed childishly in the water . . . I bet they'd all played in the tournament at the club that morning and then just raged on over at Bob's house . . . I mean you hear about the LifeStyle, but you don't often actually see the wildlife Septugenarius Arizonas in its natural habitat . . . 8^D . . . ya gotta admire 'em for making it work for 'em!

Oddly, at a house on the other side of the tee, a morose young man sat by himself. A painful juxtaposition, if you see what I mean. It upset me so much that I mis-hit my drive, a pathetic, weak pull slice that musta caught the top of some mesquite trees on the left side of the fairway. Nothing bothers Mr Science, but he hit a drive barely good enough to allow him to reach the front of the green on his next shot, just, from where he could 2putt, like usual. Even with my weak shot, I still only had a partial 7wood, but it didn't hook for me like I wanted, even into the wind, and when I found my ball, it was in a culvert/drain that made a very wooly, cuppy lie. A chunk, a blade & two putts put me in the hole.

We turned around with the wind for #16, a short, uphill par 5. Mr Science hit an ugly not-quite-a-snap hook that bounded off the gravel mounds on the left, ducked under some trees, bounced off the cart path back into the left rough . . . "I think that'll be alright!" he said as he quaffed a large gulp of his sextadecimal cerveza, as is our custom. I suddenly remembered to swing in-to-out and bashed a majestic blow straight at my target saguaro on the right side of the fairway.

When we got to Mr Science's ball, he was not much more than 180 away, as best we could tell . . . "that's a 300 yd. drive!" he crowed, "and look, there you are not so much ahead of me". I could only grumble something about his skill with a cart path. He made a clean swipe at the ball, picked it clean out of the gravel, but over-rotated or something and putt a tiny hook on the ball so that he wound up left of the green. With the wind behind me, I decided on a half-5, thinking that was the shot I could rely on most and control best, but it came off the toe and bounced around the mounds above the green on the right.

When we got up to the green, we saw that Mr Science was pin high -- I was close to the green, too, but shorter . . . "If I hadn't hooked it," he said, "I'd have a really short putt for eagle!"

"Yeah," I said, "IF I'd hit mine straight, I'da had a makeable -- not short -- but makeable -- eagle putt, too.

So he tried to make his eagle chip, instead of lagging it close, and it rolled past the pin, off onto the fringe. I waited until he was thru fooling around with his clubs and stuff, and said "Watch This!"

It has to be said . . . Whitcomb's mounding is not very natural, to put it best, and to put it worst, it is ugly and unnatural. But here I was, in and among some of that ugly mounding with a really crative fun shot to hit: I lobbed my ball up ontop of the mound and just let it roll back down on the green. It tracked straight for the hole, but stopped 6 ft short. I tho't sure Mr Science would hole his birdie chip, but he missed below the hole, giving me a great read on the same line . . . but I missed too. There won't be many easier birdie putts in this life . . . I blame the greens, not the putter. . . 8^D. . .

I can't remember 17 & 18 anymore . . . more of the same . . . I guess . . . Although the course is not defenseless, it's just not as memorable as Johnson Ranch or the 500 back9s, but we had a good time re-playing the course . . . we got around in 3:20 . . . paid only $20 in all . . . on an interesting if not memorable course . . . that's all one could ask . . . well, maybe not: I wound up with a 46-49=95, compared to the 84 I had last time, so that sucks, mainly due to poor putting, I think -- or poor greens, if you want to look at it that way, and I DO. Mr Science wound up with an 83, and I think he thinks he could have done better.

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