Your Hack had a fun throwback round of golf on Saturday with members of the “Group”. It was the regular Saturday game run by Simon who was kind enough to let me join in at the last minute. Friday’s bad weather cancelled my regular match and I had the itch to play and post my first “official” round of the season. In Delaware, April 1st is when we start posting scores for handicap purposes.
Before we dive into yesterday’s game, let’s talk about last year and some goals for 2021.
I ended last year with a 5.5 handicap, which was the highest “cap” I’ve had in quite a while. My low handicap of the year was 2.5 in May/June of 2020 and the lowest round of 2020 was a 74 from the hybrid black/white tees at Cripple Creek. Not an inspiring year of golf for your Hack as I battled recurring putting woes, some serious and unexpected hozzle rockets and, as always, the big right and big left misses off the tee.
Over the winter, I made some equipment changes and have seen some progress. I switched out my Scottie for a Bettinardi BB1 putter and have seen some improvement. A replacement set of Titleist irons (4 through PW) and a driving iron were added, as well as two (2) new wedges – Titleist Vokey SM7 Tour Chrome Wedges, 52 and 58 degree with 12 degree bounce. I remain committed to the Titleist Pro V1 ball but am starting to look for a new driver to replace my Taylormade M1 which is about 5 or 6 years of technology behind.
Goals for 2021:
- Lower Handicap to 2.0 or better
- Play more tournament golf
- Birdie every hole at Cripple Creek from both the white & black tees
- Make the cut at the Delaware Amateur
- Win the Cripple Creek Club Championship & the Senior Club Championship
So, with that out of the way, let’s get back to the skin’s game with the Group. Simon organized a carryover skins game where the first 12 holes were worth $10 and the last 6 were worth $20 a piece. We had 13 players ($260 pot) and your Hack played with no strokes. If there was no skin on #18, the players who tied would go back to #17 scores to determine a winner and if they tied again, they would go back to the scores on #16 and so on until a winner was determined. As you’ll see this was important.
I was paired with Simon (11 strokes) and Dave W. (9) in the first group out. We were followed by a gold tee group consisting of little Dickie Moore (8), Frog (12), and JoJo (10). Fallon (8), Condo (13), Old Tom Morris (13), and the Monsignor (11) played from the white tees, while John Roth (3), his son-in-law (13) and son (not in the game) were the caboose.
Dave made a great birdie on #3 to lead off the scoring in our group. His great putt must have inspired your Hack, because I went on to birdie the next 3 holes to get to 2 under for the round. I missed a little 4 footer for par on 7 and then left another birdie putt on the lip on 8. I was feeling great sitting 160 yards from the pin on 9, but I had to hit a low cut under the branches of the big tree on the right to get the ball close to the pin. It was not be as I didn’t keep the ball low enough and it deflected off a branch and dropped. After a shanked wedge, a poor chip and 2 putts, I carded a double bogey to make the turn at 36 – 1 over par.
What followed on the back 9 was not pretty. A shanked wedge on 10 led to bogey, a pulled approach on 11 made it bogey-bogey to start the holes coming home. Pars on 12 and 13 settled things down, but an out of bounds, big right miss on 14 led to another double and a shanked chip, followed by a shanked bunker shot let to another double on 16. I started to see things spiral out of control, but made a good up and down on 17 for par and then left a makable birdie putt short on 18 for an ending par. Good finish, but an ugly 42 on the back to end the round at 7 over and post a 78 for the first official score of the season.
On the skin’s side of the match, all three (3) birdies cleared and my par on 18 was halved by JoJo’s bogey net par so we went to the 17th hole scores. Luckily, my up and down par beat JoJo’s “X” and I was able to add two (2) more skins to the total. Dave W.’s birdie on #3 held up and Old Tom Morris, Fallon, and Condo also grabbed skins. John Roth’s son-in law carded a 2, net 1 on #16 and grabbed a couple of carryover skins for a big win as well.
It was a blast playing with the boys Saturday, although we fought through a tough pace of play as the groups out first that day at the Creek were SLOW. It took us almost 2 1/2 hours to play the back 9. I know it took a toll on me as I was completely out of my rhythm on the back. But, I need to be able to deal with this better if I’m going to play better tournament golf this year.