Play Diary 4-28-15

I’ve decided, if for no other purpose than reflection, to add a “Play Diary” to the blog. Regardless, if it’s read or not, the experience should be cathartic, at least that is a distinct possibility. Hopefully you the reader will find the content insightful and funny. You can learn a lot watching a car crash in the slow motion in the world of the blog. Better yet, if you listen closely, you will be able to hear the gears turning in the recount of the day. Sometimes when I hear it, I can almost visualize the gear that has those missing teeth that cause the little slippage, the wheel losing purchase. Next thing you know, I have a ball in some precarious circumstance with no plausible chance of pulling a par out of my back pocket.

  Self deprecation has never been a problem for me, but playing good consistent golf with the devil in one ear is certainly a challenge. Angelic intervention is stymied somewhat by the demonic possession that overcomes my physical self. Sometimes I wonder if a visit from Father Karras
is in order to cast out that which afflicts my sane sensibilities. Just put the ball in the fairway, then on the green, pull the flag, and finally putt said ball into the hole. Seems easy enough….from my couch watching the pros do it on TV…a little different standing on the tee box. Man do we put so much meaning to even the simplest of shots. The greatest compliment you can pay a fellow golfer is he/she lacks the ability to think. “Dude, it’s like you don’t think at all out here, how do you do it…you know, not think?” I have friends that can do it. They look at the ball, look at the target, pull the trigger and make a bunch of birdies. Not thinking is a little bit of an untruth. Thinking is important when it comes to strategy and how you approach playing the hole. Thinking is overrated when you go to hit the shot….that’s the holy grail, mindless golf.

So yesterday, I venture out for a quick 9. I haven’t played much in the last couple of weeks due to an insane amount of rain here in the Atlanta area. Also, my schedule has been jammed full of responsibility, which always has a habit of mucking up the works. When I haven’t played much, I set my expectations pretty low. If I can get it around in 40 or better, I’m usually okay with the outcome. Literally, I’ve rolled up to the tee sometimes, thinking 40 or better, good score. For the criminally insane, that kind of projection….essentially, putting the mind and body in that state of expectation….is reasonable. Today, I plan to knock off the 7 Eleven and I hope to walk with $200 and not get caught. Perfect example of criminal expectation, for better or worse, short sighted expectations have a penchant for becoming reality. The round started well. A little right curling sparrow just right of the 150 marker with my 19 degree hybrid. First swing of the day, I’ll take that ball flight and result. Could have carved a 3 wood down the gut, but that brings water and double bogey into play…generally, better to wait till I’ve hit a few before trying to pull that one off. Pin is back, so I hit a 7 iron from 158 uphill to the green. Catch it clean, leaving about 18 feet for birdie, uphill putt. Making my par…I think, okay, good start, nobody hurt.

Second hole, par 5, reachable with a bomb drive and a long second…usually 230 −250 to reach for me. I decide to play it as a 3 shot, mainly because they have put the pin in the suicide position on the right side of this narrow green. Over the green….dead….right of the green…..dead….left of the green….house burnt to the ground, so play it as a 3 shot and try and wedge something close. Tug my sand wedge about 5 feet left of target, catches slope leaving an unreasonable 30 footer for a birdie attempt. Secure another par…still happy, still no self judgement or expectation. Third hole….wretched drive trying to play a safe fade to a narrow fairway, overcooked it. Luckily the right side is a wall of sorts funneling the ball back down into the fairway, except the shot was so bad I lost yardage in the funnel. 180 left to reach the #3 handicap on this side…really hate this hole. Hit it a little thin with a 6 iron, just short of the green, chip it to a foot….moving on.

Next two holes, same thing, played with no expectation, no thought of score, just playing the shot in front of me. Hit both tee shots poorly, but chipped it close on the par 3 to save and actually had a 12 foot birdie attempt on the par 4. Even par through 5. Now, I’ve been here many times, no issues, I can get it around in the low 30’s (anything less that 36 in my world)…when my mind is right. What I want to know is why does the mind go wrong? Agitated a bit by missing the putt on 5, I press and give meaning to the tee shot on 6. Another par 3, playing as easy as it gets for this hole. I add even additional meaning to the shot, why, I don’t know. The devil is whispering, “you got to make up for lost opportunities, got to get this one close or else”. There is a word for jerks like that, rhymes with donut hole. Pull my shot, again, not good, left is like sitting front row at a blockbuster movie…end up feeling like a Pez dispenser. By some miracle, I’m not in the snake riddled creek. In the hazard, but some how it stayed alive. Now I’m facing a sandy lie, over a bunker with about 8 feet of green to with in front of the pin. Another sand trap awaits on the other side of green begging for my golf ball to “come home”. Hahahaaha….seriously, I laughed at the absurdity of the shot, run of the mill flop and stop hitting off of hard kitty litter. Grab my 60 and play it like a bunker shot and pull some ridiculousness out my hindquarters, leaving a palatable 10 footer from the fringe. When I look back, I didn’t “think” when I hit the shot, I only saw the objective and the rest was autopilot. Standing over the putt….I’m thinking now….”man what a save this will be….still at even after six if I make this putt”…the devil still yapping as I pull the blade back. There is no one with me by the way, I’m a solo with voices in my head, just so you the reader are aware, I know I’m sick. I stopped calling them my invisible friends long ago. Bogey! What a jerk I am…puke.

Precisely, that’s when the chaos unfurled. When the thoughts of score permeated my psyche. Punching holes in the moment that was the task at hand. On this day, I didn’t think of 40 till I was making my way to the 7th tee box. Now 40, in Las Vegas neon, flashed in my minds eye. I wanted to spit, cuss it out loud, but I couldn’t have that conversation (you know like a stable person talking to myself), I had two speed golfers behind me. Old guys get like that sometimes (speed golf), they like to run through a round like death itself is chasing them. The rest of the round is irrelevant. Plenty of good shots, and just enough of them off line to put me putting for 40 on the 9th green. Downhiller from 6 feet. Of course, when you aim low you will probably get pretty close to the mark. Lipped out for 41 and the only 3 jack of the day. Ugh. Tomorrow is indeed another day.


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