Golf Talk With Greg Holman – #81
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I hope you are enjoying these beautiful weekends and are able to get out and hit that little white, yellow, orange or pink ball. In my opinion June is the best month for golf in Missouri.
I had a chance to get out last Sunday and got off to my typical start, hooking my tee shot into the brush on the first hole and settling for a double bogey. I also made double on the second hole before righting the ship. After 8 holes I was ten over par and not looking forward to the back nine, then something happened. I started playing smart. I’ll explain what that means in a moment.
I birdied #9 and parred holes ten through fifteen. On #16, a short par 3, full of adrenalin, I sent my seven iron over the green and fluffed my chip. From 40 feet, I left my first putt 12 feet short, but made the 12-footer for bogey. The 17th is a difficult hole, but I was feeling pretty good at only one over through seven. I hit a solid (for me) 200 yard drive into the wind straight down the middle behind a big tree. With 180 yards left, I punched a 4 iron to within 50 yards of the green. With the pin in the back and a drop off back and right, I knew I had to be careful. I was too careful and left myself thirty feet short to set up a three-putt double bogey. Now I had the 18th to play.
A par would give me a 38, my best nine hole round in a few years. Knowing I was prone to hook with a ditch on the left, I sprayed my drive to the right in a line of trees. With about 150 yards to the green, I again punched a 4 iron maybe 70 yards through the rough behind a tall tree. My first instinct was to take out a sand wedge and hit a full shot over the tree. I might’ve been able to do it in high school but I decided my best play would be to hit another low shot, this time I chose a 5-iron and rolled it over the back of the green. I took a deep breath knowing I had to get up and down to break 40. My pitching wedge into the bank missed the bank and the ball sailed back over the green. Now I have a 60-foot chip straight up the hill. I was only able to chip the ball to about 6 feet, leaving me a sidehiller for a double. I missed the putt and scored a triple for a 41.
I was disappointed but I learned an important lesson. I began thinking. How was I able to shoot one under par for a seven hole stretch. This tip might help your game.
I was able to keep the ball below the hole giving me my best chance to chip and save par or two putt for par. I also had some luck. On the short par 5 ninth, I had a chance to reach the green in two if I could hit the best 3-wood of my life. But I had a downhill lie and chose a 5-wood. I hit the ball within 30 yards of the green, pitched to 15 feet and made the putt for birdie.
Ten is really a par 5 for me… 425 yards into the wind. I hit my best drive of the day and a decent 3-wood on the fringe and got it up and down for a great par 4.
The 11th is a 150 yard downhill par 3. I hit a 6-iron to 12 feet and two putted for a par.
The 12th is a short par 4 over water. I stayed left to avoid the trouble and hit a 90 yard wedge shot on the front of the green and two putted for par.
On 13, a short par 5, I hit a good drive down the fairway about 220 and a decent 3-wood to about 50 yards, then a pitching wedge to 12 feet and just missed the putt, but it was another easy par.
My shot of the day was on the par 3 14th, a 197 yarder where I nailed a 3-wood to 15 feet and two putted for par. Then on the 500 yard 15th hole I hit driver, 3-wood and 9 iron onto the right bank of the green. My pitch was long but I made a 15-foot downhill putt to save par.
So you see, for the most part I was keeping the ball below the hole, not overswinging and using good course management. I hope that works for you this weekend when you go for your best round of the season.
Hit ’em straight!
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