At least the sun was out. After a week of really, really bad weather your Hack finally made it out to the course for a round of golf. It was not at Cripple Creek as the course continues to be closed due to the weather. Instead, the Senator, the Voice, and I headed out to Plantation Lakes in Millsboro to take on 3 fellows from Ocean City Golf in a best 2 net match – front, back, and total. In addition, the boys and I played skins in our threesome.
Plantation Lakes is an Arthur Hills design and is part of a large residential community developed by Lennar. The second nine was opened last year and they are working on building an additional 600 homes around those holes over the next 5-7 years. It’s a fun course to play with a couple of tricked up greens and funky holes. Because of the cold and wind, we elected to play from the White tees – only 5800 yards. It was “cart path only” due to soggy fairways (there was still some snow on the ground) and the Lakes is not a course set up for walking.
The first hole is a short par 4 (289 yards) and the Voice nailed a 15 foot putt for birdie. My 20 footer rolled over the right edge and Hagen had his first skin of the day. My bellicose buddy also made par on #2 which matched mine after I hit a nice splash from the sand to 2 feet for a tap in. Unfortunately for me, it’s the 3rd handicap hole which meant a net 3 for the Voice and his second skin of the day.
The 3rd hole is the number 1 handicap hole on the course. At 416 yards from the White tees, it plays directly into the wind. To give you an idea of the wind, I hit 8 iron into the 415 yard 2nd hole (downwind) and a 4 iron into the 3rd. That 4 iron ended up a little short left and I chipped to 5 feet but missed the putt to go 1 over for the day.
Your Hack rinsed two (2) balls on holes 4 & 5 to go four over par for the day and give the Voice two (2) more skins, while the Senator tried to find his way. He’d been a lost camper over the first few holes. For those keeping score at home, that’s 4 skins for the Voice through five (5) holes and a big goose egg for the Senator and your Hack.
The Senator continued to struggle over the balance of the front nine, while I calmed down, hit fairways and made pars on 6, 7, and 9. An ugly 3-putt bogey on #8 was the only blemish over the last four (4) holes on the opening nine. I finished the front carding a 41 with two (2) water balls and a 3-putt. On the positive side of the ledger, I hit 6 of 7 fairways, got up and down from the only bunker I hit and chipped it well enough to have three (3) 1-putt greens. Unfortunately our team was only 1 under for the first nine and got blown out by the Ocean City boys.
We made the turn and the weather was getting a little warmer. The Voice continued his steady play and the Senator was starting to hit his stride. Well, sort of. After pars on #10, all of us 3-putted the par 3, 12th hole. As we approached 13 – one of the funkiest holes on the course – we waited on the tee for a foursome ahead of us. We’d already passed through a foursome of very slow players back on the 7th hole and had been waiting for this group on both 11 and 12. Thinking the group had cleared, the Voice hit a drive into the large bunker on the left side. We didn’t see where the drive landed, but as we drove up to our balls, we noticed a player in the bunker who had not been visible from the tee. The Senator and I walked out to the fairway, while Hagen went into the bunker to try and find his ball. The next thing we knew, the player in the foursome ahead of us stepped up to the back edge of the bunker and threw Hagen’s ball back at him accompanied by some rather sharp language that seemed to mention his body parts and lack of a known set of parents. A quick apology didn’t seem to satisfy this highly agitated golfer.
After hitting onto the green, I approached the group who had pulled over to the side and waited for us. Thinking there might be some trouble brewing, I approached cautiously and told the gentlemen that my partner had not seen the fellow in the bunker and again apologized. They were actually all smiles and the agitated fellow announced that he was the one who should apologize. “I was pissed off because I needed an abacus to figure my score on the hole and let it get the better of me . . . “ They then announced that they wanted to see how well we putted and then they’d let us play through. The Senator proceeded to drain a 40 footer up and over a small elephant buried in the 12th green for birdie and his first skin! They let us through.
Hole 13 is a relatively short (483 yard) par 5. Your Hack nipped a little spinning wedge to 6 feet and finally made a birdie and skin. This was followed by a 1 putt par on the #2 handicap 14th hole which also resulted in a skin when the Senator missed a 4 footer that would have tied at 5, net 4. I followed this with pars on 14 and 15 to stay even on the back. The Voice had come off his heater from the front nine; the Senator just kept limping along (except for the birdie he made back on 12); and we were bouncing around even par as a team versus the Ocean City boys. Something needed to change.
Hole #16 is a short (270 yard) par 4 that is drivable when the pin is the center of the green – which it was this day. The Voice hit a drive that we still haven’t found, but we assumed it was a big, right miss OB. The Senator got creative and pulled a low slicing shot that bounced down the cart path to about 20 yards long and right of the green. We needed to make something happen and I hit the perfect drive that landed and stopped about 2 feet short of the green – 15 feet from the pin. Naturally, your Hack is thinking eagle (the big bird). If you know me, you know what happened next.
I had a sprinkler head between my ball and the cup so I decided a little chip would be the right play. After a routine deceleration with my trusty 52 degree, I stubbed the chip to 10 feet short of the pin. After knocking the birdie putt 4 feet past the hole, I quickly pulled the par putt over the left edge and made a truly remarkable bogey!
I’d not only added another square to my card, but I’d let the team down in our match. We ended the back at 1 under and halved the Ocean City boys. A simple birdie on #16 and who knows what would have happened coming in. Instead, your Hack added a bogey on 17 after rinsing an approach and another bogey on 18 to finish at 39 – shooting 80 for the day. All I can say is – shit happens, you know?
So we ended the day losing 2 ways to the Ocean City boys. The Voice had 4 skins, I had 2 and the Senator just 1. I’ve got one thing to say to Hagen – you’re never again getting 10 shots from me in a cash game.
Keep it in the short grass.