Last Friday, I played 18 at the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club. The day was sunny, warm and humid. A 2-club wind blew throughout most of the day. The course was in very good condition and the greens were pretty fast and smooth.
I warmed up on the range, into the wind, starting off with my sand wedge. I then hit a few balls with the 7-iron, and it was clear that the wind would be a big factor. I hit some drives, but never really got a drive I was happy with, tending to hook. That problem would plague me all day. We went off on the 10th hole on a shotgun start at 9 AM and finished around 2PM. A celebrity tournament featuring many current and former sports stars caused most of the delay in play. We were also playing from a mix of gold and black tees, so the course was playing longer than the ones I typically play.
Two holes typify the day I had. The 15th hole is an amazing par-3 hole on the Atlantic Ocean. The tee is a good 100 ft above the hole, and both the tee and the flag were in the back, making the hole longer than the distance on the score card. I hit a 7-iron pin-high, but well left into a bunker. I had a difficult lie, and I chunked the ball only a few feet. My next shot from the bunker was hit thin, going across the green into another bunker. I managed to hit a decent bunker shot, but missed the putt and tapped in for a glorious triple bogey.
The 17th hole is a par-4 hole that dog-legs left around the Atlantic Ocean. My tee shot was well-struck, but it hooked onto the beach. As I approached the ball, I had a nice lie on the wet sand, seemingly clear of the surf. Just as I approached the ball, a large wave ran up the beach and ran off with my ball. I went back to where the ball crossed the hazard, took a drop and promptly hooked my approach shot onto the beach, again. This time, the ball was far enough above the wave, so I used my sand wedge to punch the ball back into the fairway. I hit it fat, but it still managed to get onto the fairway. I then struck a perfect 9-iron 6 ft below the hole, but lipped out the putt for a glorious triple-bogey.
That pretty much sums up my day.
- Drives. I hit only one, count ‘em, one fairway, all day. That’s not as pathetic as it sounds, as many were just off the edge. My main fault all day was hooking the ball, and it got so bad that I abandoned the driver and went to a mix of 5-woods and hybrids, but hooked them as well. All my penalties for the day were off the tee (4). My tee shots got so pathetic on the front nine that it completely destroyed my tempo and timing for the rest of my game.
- Approach shots. I had a pretty stinky day on approach shots as well, but did manage a few good ones. I hit a 7-iron on the par-5 13th hole to 15 ft, pin-high, for my only green in regulation (and par score) of the day. I also hit a fantastic 9-iron to 6 ft on the par-4 17th hole (see above). I had difficulty with the wind all day, hitting many shots long when downwind, and short when upwind.
- Wedges. I didn’t hit a lot of wedge shots, as I used either an 8-iron or pitching wedge to chip when close to the hole. When I did hit a wedge, the results weren’t good, either hitting them thin, shanking one, or hitting the ball fat, which meant I had to hit another wedge. My wedge play has not improved, even though I’ve spent more practice time on them.
- Chipping. Mixed results chipping. I had four up-and-downs, and most of these were from chipping the ball close or putting from the fringe. My chipping has improved as I’ve put more emphasis on practicing chipping.
- Bunker shots. I did very poorly on the back nine with bunker shots, either hitting them fat for little distance, or hitting them thin over the green. On the front nine, I had one very nice lob wedge out of a bunker on the 3rd hole to 6 ft but didn’t get up-and-down.
- Putting. My putting improved marginally, as I had only two 3-putts on the day. I had a total of 33 putts, which is my best performance in a long time, but still pretty poor. This is due to my poor short game, which leaves me with too many putts beyond the golden 10 ft.
The changes I’ve been making to fix my reverse pivot have turned my golf swing into a random direction generator. I can’t just play for a hook, because about only about half my shots hook (and the amount of the hook isn’t consistent), others go straight and a few get pushed. I trust nothing about my game, other than putting, but I can’t get the ball close enough to the hole for my putting to make an impact on my score. My swing changes have also destroyed my wedge swings as I’ve been concentrating on my long game and not on my short game. In short, my game is a mess.
But, I still had fun. I must be a lunatic.