Let’s be honest. Cripple Creek is playing much like a pitch and putt these days. Temporary tees on all the pars 3’s reduce each one to a wedge shot. The temporary tee on #1 and the forward tees on 7, 8, 11, 14, and 15 significantly reduce the length of these holes and the temporary “green” on #14 make it a par 4 rather than a par 5 in our matches. Although the winter cold and wind, combined with the hairy and bumpy greens, make winter golf more difficult, the rounds and matches described in this blog need to be read with the understanding that the Creek is playing much easier these days.
With all that said, your Hack played well in yesterday’s match. The Senator, The Voice and I took on Dewey, Doc Martin and Decker in a best net ball of three (3) game. We were a little concerned that Doc’ and Decker’s 13 handicaps would be problematic with the Senator and The Voice playing to an 8 handicap, but the match proved competitive. Our threesome came in at 6 under compared to our opponent’s 4 under. Your Hack was 1 under on his own ball net on the front which definitely helped that cause.
The more interesting part of the day was the 9 point match in our group which flamed up quickly. The Senator had a tough day. Maybe tough is saying it too nicely. In reality it was SO bad that he wanted out of the bet after the front nine. Given that I had the biggest win of any of our matches this winter, except for a few notable Wolf games, his declaration that the 9 point match was ending after the ninth (9th) hole was understandable. The Voice was not exactly a factor on the front nine either, but played well enough to add a couple of net birdies for our team.
On the 10th green, The Voice and I realized that we needed a bet for the back nine. I was on the green in regulation and he was just off the front of the green after hitting his wedge a little fat. We agreed on a $25, automatic 2 down match with me giving him 2 shots (17 & 18). Of course The Voice immediately drained his long, uphill shot from off the green for birdie and I missed -1 down! Your hack then 3 putted for bogey on #11 and Steve made a great up and down for par – 2 down and even on the press. After we both missed makable birdie putts on #12, we went to the 90-100 yard shortened par 3, #13. The Voice hit a nice wedge to about 10 feet while mine went wide right about 25 feet beyond the hole. Remarkably, I made the birdie putt and Steve missed – 1 down and 1 up. Following a lost ball into the marsh on #14 which led to Steve conceding the hole we went even, 2 up, and even into #15.
Your Hack hit 3 wood on 15 about 30 yards short of the green, but the Voice made the mistake left and his drive ended up in the pond. My easy par beat his bogey – 1 up, 3 up, and 1 up with 3 holes to play. Steve hit it on the lower level of the green – the pin was back right on the upper level – while my wiped 6 iron ended up short right. After attempting a flop shot over the corner of the bunker, I found myself slightly over the green after my flop failed to hold. Steve putted up about 8 feet short and made a solid par to beat my bogey – even, 2 up, and even. My par on 17 was halved by his bogey, net par and we headed to the last. The Voice stroked, I’d won the first press and we were even on the remaining two (2) bets.
Although we are playing 18 from the forward tees this winter which makes the hole much easier, it’s still a good finishing hole for match play. There is trouble right, trees and out of bounds. On the left is the 9th hole and green if over hook or pull a drive. Unfortunately, that was the situation for the Voice – his drive ended up in the bunker facing the 9th green. Your Hack had hit on the his best drives of the day and was sitting in the left side of the fairway about 150 or less to the green – or so we thought. I’d made such good contact on the shot, that I reached down and grabbed my tee after seeing the ball drawing from the right side of the fairway. However, as I was walking up the fairway I didn’t see my little white friend – anywhere! Steve hit is 2nd shot a bit heavy, and then his 3rd ricocheted off a tree and he was sitting 3 about 100 yards from the green. We still hadn’t found my ball. All of us walked up and down the fairway from 200 to 125 yards out looking for a plugged ball, a ball hiding under leaves, something. To be honest, we went a bit over the time limit, but still couldn’t come up with your Hack’s Titleist. I conceded the hole and The Voice was able to win the match two (2) ways to my one. Rub of the green?
Although the ending was strange, I was pleased with my play. I was 2 over par standing on the 18th tee – 11 pars, 4 bogeys and 2 birdies through 17 holes with 2 three putts. Nothing that can be posted this time of year, but the swing feels better and I’m looking forward to the Spring.
We have plans to play on Sunday, but it looks like the weather is not going to cooperate as we had rain overnight and it looks to rain most the day, off and on, today. More rain forecast overnight into Sunday. At least we have the WGC at The Concession to watch.