Yesterday, I practiced at the Golden Bear Golf Center on a hot, muggy morning. I started off, as usual, in the short game area, working on chipping, especially long chips, using the pitching wedge. My chipping was pretty respectable, so I moved on to short and medium pitches using the lob wedge. My pitching was quite good, although not my best effort. I then spent some time in the bunker working on sand shots, both with the sand and lob wedges. I never really got it going, taking an inconsistent amount of sand.
I got a large bucket of balls and went to the range. I warmed up as usual, and it was clear from the start that my ball-striking on this day was not going to be good. I ran through the bag and maybe hit one or two good shots out of 20 or so balls. I then got out the iPod, put on Tour Tempo, but that seemed to make things worse. This was probably my worst practice in months, so I’ll spare you the details.
This morning, I practiced and played nine at North Texas Golf. The day was warm, humid and heavily overcast. There was a breeze from the east. I warmed up by hitting medium and long pitches with the lob wedge at the target rings, even nailing one on the third pitch. My distance control was a little spotty, though my direction control was pretty good. I then went to the range, where I ran through the bag hitting every other club (I’d left the driver in the club). I hit a least one good shot with every club, so I was quite happy with my ball-striking. I finished up the small bucket by hitting a couple of shots with the sand wedge through 8-iron off a tee, simulating the holes I’d be playing. I then went to the putting green, where I found the greens very slow and bumpy. That would be the same on the course.
* Hit green in regulation.
- First hole. Hit a 9-iron from 113 yds pin-high left of the green into some heavy rough. Chipped poorly to about 10 ft and missed the putt for par and tapped in for bogey.
- Second hole. Pulled a 7-iron left into the hazard, took a drop in the rough, chipped poorly again to about 15 ft, and three-putted for triple, lipping out a 2 foot putt.
- Third hole. Hit a pitching wedge from 108 yards high and short, hit a perfect chip to a foot and tapped in for par.
- Fourth hole. Hit a gap wedge from 94 yards left of the green into a grass bunker. Hit a chip thin and over the green, putted from the fringe to a foot and tapped in for bogey.
- Fifth hole. Hit a gap wedge from 84 yards very high and short into a bowl around a drain. Hit a poor chip to 12 ft and two-putted for bogey.
- Sixth hole. Hit a pitching wedge from 101 yards 6 feet above the hole. Missed a tricky birdie putt and tapped in for par.
- Seventh hole. Hit a gap wedge from 94 yards to 21 feet. Blew the birdie putt 6 feet past the hole, but drained the par putt.
- Eighth hole. Hit a pitching wedge from 105 yards left of the green, where it hit a down-slope and bounced 2″ over the green. Putted from the fringe 8 feet past the hole, but nailed the par putt.
- Ninth hole. Hit a 9-iron very high and 36 feet below the hole, leaving a nasty double-breaking putt up hill. Missed the putt 2 ft wide, and missed the 2 footer again, tapping in for bogey. Yeech!!!!!!!
I was pretty disappointed with my game today, as the two of the three things I’ve been working hardest at (putting, chipping, pitching) were done poorly today. Aside from a near perfect chip on the third hole, my chipping was pathetic, and I also three-putted twice, missing from 2 feet. How the heck can I miss from two feet when I usually start my putting practice by hitting 10 in a row from 4 feet? WTF??? To top that off, I was hitting the ball short all day, de-lofting the clubs and hitting the ball very high. None of that was evident during warmup.
Sometimes, this game drives me crazy.