Sunday, November 09, 2008
This all takes place in the D flight, y'unnerstand, so it's the ultimate mixture of the sublime & the ridiculous . . .
It was the annual club championship . . . a 2 day, 36 hole, Medal event . . . We teed off as the last group in the tournament, the worst-of-the-worst. So, Sunday, we would tee off first, so that the best-of-the-best would finish last, if you see what I mean . . .
I started off on #1, not unusually, by hooking a ball out of bounds, but then 1 putting from 12 ft to save a 9. I finished the front 9 with an even 50, but taking only 13 putts. The old home course, Walden on Lake Conroe has a slope of 145 from the back tees, 128 from the whites, where we were playing, so one has to expect some blow-up holes, especially when the course is in Summer Tournament Condition, with ankle deep bermuda rough and very fast greens. The trick, the test, is to keep your composure and shoot your handicap.
I think I got tired on the back 9, shot a 45, with 16 putts, for 29 in all . . . still purty good.
Since we were the last group, there was no one behind us, so I think we tended as a group to dawdle . . . and I've got the temperment of a toy-poodle for slow-play . . . that wears me out worse than anything . . . One member of our group seemed to think he was Arnold Palmer, famously pictured studying a shot while puffing on a cigarette . . . every dang shot, tho? My cart partner was a retiree, whose main game plan seemed to be to get into peoples heads . . . after every putt I made, he said, "It just amazes me how still you keep your head while you're putting!" After every full shot, he'd say, "What a beautiful swing you have!" All of that with the cart not moving, doncha see . . . I don't remember the other fella at all . . . I like to play fast, in case that's not clear.
But I noticed early on we had lost track of the other groups . . . and on 16, from the fairway, I saw the asst. pro wheel out, obviously looking for us . . . sure nuff, when we rolled up to the pro shop the head pro gave us the Dutch Uncle, like a principal lecturing tardy students, and assessed us each a 2 stroke penalty . . . it was almost dark, the pros wanted go home, and I knew there was no point in contesting such an unfair development, but my cart partner needed to vent about it. I left him to it.
The thing about it was, my cart partner and I were still leading the D flight, with net 71s, including the 2 stroke penalty. It's REAL hard to shoot your handicap at Walden . . . So you'd think we'd've been encouraged by such a development to finish strong the next day, but no, our sense of grievance was too deep. My cart partner started out with 3 9s, and I with 3 7s, so we never had a chance. Where the day before he'd been all sweetness and light, this day he was all vitriol and gloom, full of recriminating rehashings of his lengthy debate with the head pro the night before . . . we'd both played under our handicaps the first day, but couldn't come within a 5wood of them the second day and totally finished out of the money. My main complaint, aside from the penalty, was that I wasn't putting lights-out, again.
The lesson I took out of these events is not particularly profound, unless you don't know it . . . Golf, Like Life, is not fair, and one's chore is to accept one's fate, and press on. This was the first tournament in several years I had had a chance to win, and I tho't it would be years again before I would have another chance, but the next year I won 5 tournaments and the year after that, 4. I attribute this not only to playing 4 times a week, but to the Life Lesson I got that weekend. . . 8^) . . .