History.

It’s 5.49 am , Sep 24th 2018.

History.

Tiger Woods is back with a W.

And J-Rose Fedex Champ, probably the luckiest bounce ever in the history of golf.

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Glenmarie – Where Idiots Roam

We never seem to have any good experience with Glenmarie. Which doesn’t make sense, because the course is reasonably nice (not great), and the distance is ok for most of us. It’s mainly to do with the service we get there. Maybe it’s just us. Maybe the others have a great time there, maybe its our faces, I don’t know. But everytime we are there, there seems to be always a personal nightmare of experience we have with them.

This time, they bumped us into the Garden because Valley was closed. Garden has a lot more people playing I think because it’s supposed to play easier.And I suppose therein lies the problem.

Hole 1: Par 4, and my driving streak continues. Utterly destroyed the drive and I only had 100m to an uphill green. I opted for a sandwedge but amazingly flew the green to the back. From there, my putt was poor and I couldn’t convert my five footer for par, settled for bogey (+1). It kinda looks like the same crap here – great driver, shitty putter.

Hole 2: Par 3 and I drew my pitching wedge into the bunker. Hit a great bunker out to around 6 – 8 feet. This time, I managed to coax my par putt in. SANDY par! (+1)

Hole 3: Blasted again my driver down the fairway and really, was looking at getting this Par 5 two on with my 5 wood. Instead, I hooked my five wood into the trees on the left. My third was a 60 degree flop shot which miraculously cleared the trees and landed as soft as you like on the green, rolling to around 10 feet of the hole. From there two putt for par. (+1)

Hole 4: Feeling it for sure, I took up a very poor driving position. I aimed far left to draw it back, instead, I sent the drive into orbit and into OB. It went long and straight, no chance of it coming back. Stupid. Second drive, hooked it to the previous fairway, and hit a good 8-iron to put on for four. Two putted double (+3)

Hole 5: Honestly didn’t hit that bad a shot, but my 8 iron hooked and landed on the rough behind the bunker. From there, the dreaded chip wasn’t too bad, but was too far to save par. Bogey (+4)

Hole 6: Like the previous drive, just sent this one right and long with no draw. Luckily this time, it survived, I punched out to 100m and from there, I honestly hit such a chicken shot with a 60 degree as I didn’t want to fly it to the back. Poor. I had to chip from the fringe, but I opted to putt and it wasn’t a very good putt. Left with 20 feet or so, settled for 2 putt bogey. (+5)

Hole 7: Unfortunately, there was where everything started to unravel. The idiots in front of us were taking a hell of their sweet time in their game. There were these four jokers, I don’t know if they were old or not, but they were slow as molasses going through a swamp of their own crap, and chained down on ankles with 1 ton dumbells. THEY WERE IDIOTS! They even had the gall to play twice – one guy missed a putt, and then re-did his putt again. Another time, one of these stooges, took the time to snap a photo. And worse – these jackasses would eat at the halfway hut and then when we reach the green, they would saunter to their stupid tee box. HELLO, STUPID PEOPLE. The front flight is already 3 bloody holes in front of you. WHY ARE YOU SO STUPID AND WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE IN THIS WORLD, TO BRING DOWN THE AVERAGE INTELLIGENCE OF HUMANKIND? It seems (and I am sure of it) that they are purposely doing this to just stuff a stick up our asses.

So, hole 7, we waited, waited and waited and finally I sent my drive way left with a duck hook – I haven’t seen that in probably 2 – 3 games of golf. It went down hill, no chance, so punched out to 100m and landed my 60 degree way short. It was a poor gamble, and from there, I chipped on but just missed to 4 – 5 footer again. I hate this bloody putter. Double. (+7)

Hole 8: Another hole, another wait, and same drive – hooked to the left. This time, we waited for our second SOOOO LONG that I could have taken a dump and graduated with majors from the nearby university while waiting for these a-holes to complete. Finally, after growing older, I stepped up to hit my second shot from the rough and completely duffed the shit out of it. I wished it was the heads of these 4 Glenmarie Jackasses I duffed instead. From there, 3rd shot flew to the back of the green and putted near and managed to finish with a bogey. Barely. (+8)

Hole 9: WAIT, WAIT, WAIT. Finally, same drive – HOOKED. This time it was left to the left rough and I managed to chunked my pitching wedge to the dreaded position – rough, behind greenside bunker. I executed what resembled a flop, if it was executed by an ape using a radish as his club, hitting a piece of cowshit. It skittered over to the other side of the green, where I putted poorly and just killed myself with another two putts to finally end the 9 hole with a double bogey. (+10)

At this point, I asked if Glenmarie had any marshals and if they were actually doing their job in getting those 4 idiots in front of us to either hurry up or proceed to jump into the lake and do the world a favor by ridding themselves from this planet. The started on the back nine looked at us as if he was smoking weed and muttered, “Sudah, I sudah beritahu” (I already told them), while sitting inside his hut. Wait. You are a starter, where is the idiot marshal? Aren’t they paid to actually work? Apparently not, because there was NO. BLOODY. DIFFERENCE. IN. THEIR. SPEED.

At this point, I engaged into a philosophical and theological discussion with my buggy mate – which started with me stating I should forgive these a-holes and promptly stating afterwards: “No, Forgiveness is between them and God. I just really want to arrange the meeting for them with God.” It’s a line from Creasy, in the all-time classic, Man On Fire. So anyway, buggy mate and I decided to do some religious mind games and stating, “Change what can change, and how we react to things we cannot change.” Ommmmm. And yes, our game changed. For the better.

Hole 10: Five iron with water at 220. I hit it so flush, I nearly ended up in the water. With 140 or so, I opted to play defensive and hit a pitching wedge. I whiffed it a bit and landed short. My chip from deep rough was no where good, and from there, three putted, with a miss of 3 feet for my double bogey. Ouch. (+12)

Hole 11: Par 5, hit one into the right rough (finally hit a good drive at least a straight one). Laid up to 130m and then sent my pitching wedge over the green. And for the first time today, executed just the perfect chip that nearly holed. PAR! (+12)

Hole 12: Pitching wedge uphill par 3. Perfect shot that nestled to the back fringe and two putted from there for second par. (+12). My buggy mate nailed a 60 foot putt traversing through a few mountains. Seems like our theological discourse is working. We are not letting the 4 monkeys in front of us ruin our golf game.

Hole 13: Toughest par 4, which I hit a so-so drive that drew to the left. From there, around 150m, a nine iron was too little and front. I played too defensive here. Chip on wasn’t great and two putted for bogey. (+13)

Hole 14: This drive also had a bit of hook and was in a tough spot on the left. Hit a good nine iron out of the deep rough and landed the back of the green. Executed an ok chip but left me with around 15 feet of putt – which finally I sank. PAR. (+13)

Hole 15:Par 4, a very tough one for hookers like me as it is dogleg right, trouble on left. I started way right but even then, I ended up in the left rough, no view of green. Punched out, 60 degree 3rd shot landed pin high but with too much green to run and two putted for bogey. Not bad. (+14)

Hole 16: Par 5, and I just bombed the drive. I was so far down the fairway, I contemplated hitting 5 wood to put two on. So yes, waited and waited and finally the 4 idiots left, and my 5 wood was promptly pushed into the jungle on the right. Managed to find it and it was deep in the trees. Had to chop out for my third and my fourth shot was just a hopeless one embedded deep in the rough greenside. Somehow, I dug it out and ended up around 8 feet from the hole. Sank it for the craziest, recovery par I’ve made in a long time. (+14)

Hole 17: Downhill par 3, with 150m. Again, I was just too defensive, opting for a pitching wedge that had no hope to reach the green. However, from the greenside fairway, I putted and had around 10 feet to navigate for par – which I did. Recovery par again! (+14)

Hole 18: At this point, my back nine was just an amazing turnaround. After +10 on front nine, I was +4 through 8 holes on back nine. And for the final hole, I completely obliterated the drive and really, had around 140m left to an uphill green. Instead of my nine iron, I opted once more for defensive pitching wedge. Like Hole 17, no chance to reach and again, found myself in deep rough. I thought, ok, easy, I do this for a living.

Duffed. Final chip duffed.

3 on but far from green, I totally mishit my putt and it screwed right and left me around 8 feet still for bogey. Missed. Bollocks.

It sucks to say it, but I ended both nines with just spectacularly poor short games and double bogeys. (+16)

Conclusion: A score of 88 isn’t great because it should have been a hell lot better if my putter could work – or at least, if we played with momentum, i.e not having to wait for idiots in front. We teed off around 8.30 and we got off the course almost 2 pm. 5 and a half hours of our lives lost because of 4 marsupials in front of us who refuses to acknowledge the etiquette of golf and Glenmarie marshal service that is non existent.  I had a good first start, a poor middle and a good finish (except for that double bogey at the end). 5 and half hours – Glenmarie, please, for crying out loud, hire a course marshal who can do his job!!

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Rahman Putra Lakes – That Sinking Feeling

I used to wonder sometimes, that if I drove the ball well the whole day, I could probably be playing at single handicap, seeing how often my drives tend to land me in danger, and I always complain that I am playing recovery golf most of the time. If I drove it straight, I would probably be hitting greens in regulation all the time.

Well, at least that theory is put to rest as total crapshit. Played in Rahman Putra Lakes today and yes, driving was probably the best I’ve had in a long time, but scorewise? Single Handicap my foot.

Hole 10: We teed off at the demanding par 5 Hole 10. This is actually a short Par 5 if you can navigate the tee off, which has trouble on left and right. I striped my first drive, perfect draw down the fairway. My second shot with a 5 wood was well hit as well but it did not draw and hung out to the right. It landed behind the greenside bunker, so I had to do one of those flops to get it onto the green. Two Putt, par. (+0)

Hole 11: Unfortunately the lovin’ feeling didn’t last. I stubbed my 5 wood off the tee, and then did a bad layup with my sand wedge, leaving me with another 160 to go on this difficult par 4. My third with a hybrid was pulled left, near the trees around the greenside bunker. Another flop, but this time, over cooked it, and landed on the fringe. Two putt for double bogey. (+2)

Hole 12: I again stubbed my 6 iron. I was too quick on the transition from top to down, and my ball landed on the sarlac bunker in front of this par 3 green. I got out barely and my third shot chip was very poor, skittering just to the fringe. 2 putted from there for another double bogey (+4).

Hole 13: At this point, I was pretty much fuming at my inadequacy. My drive here drew too far left, and unluckily landed just behind the tree, blocking my view of the flag. I had to play left and landed in the greenside bunker. I did a good out from there and was around 6 feet or so downhill for a par. Because I was betting, and had a possible fringe (sandy par) I rammed my putt too quick and I had the same distance coming back up for bogey. I missed, and here we go, another double (+6)

Hole 14: Luck was hopelessly not on my side. For this hole, playing lower green, I hit what I thought was a perfect draw, starting right to left and coming into the fairway. It bounced once and amazingly, hit the last small tree there, preventing it from trickling into the fairway which I would have only a pitching wedge into the hole. Instead, I had to conjure another hook/draw at the base of this stupid tree, and almost pulled it off. Again, it was drawing back right to left to the green when amazingly, it hit the tree trunk of another lone tree and ricochet into the BUNKER of the top-tier green. And amazingly, right at the edge of the bunker between the sand and grass, so I had absolutely zero way to hit it. I skulled my third shot out onto the rough, and finally got a four on and two putted for double bogey. (+8). If someone now tells me there is no such thing as bad luck, I am going to ram my 7 iron down their throat.

Hole 15: This should be an easy par 3. I always use either a sandwedge or gap for this hole, but playing at the back today, and with headwind, I mistakenly thought the blue flag was further. I used an 8-iron, which is of course, waaay too much club. I flew the green almost to the road at the back. My flop wasn’t great as it just went a few feet in front. Another chip got me on for 3 on and two putted for my 5th straight double bogey. I was now 4 down on my match with my flight mate. (+10) And with 3 of the toughest holes ahead.

The next three holes are often called many names, most of it derivatives of bad words in all languages you can imagine. We call it the Amen Corner, though technically, not a corner, but just three monstrousities that exist solely to destroy the self esteem of aspiring golfers.

Hole 16: This is a mega tough par 4 requiring an absolutely perfect drive. You go left you are dead, right, you will be having a tough shot. I hit the perfect drive for the hole, starting right, drawing back left, catching the downhill and trudging down ALMOST to the pond. I had a pitching wedge in hand into this green. It was too short and landed in the middle, and my first putt was poor. Three putted my first green in regulation since hole 10, for bogey (+11)

Hole 17: Toughest hole on the course for many. This requires a carry to cross the lake and second to carry another lake. My first drive was boomed and left me around 170 or so to the uphill green. I used my hybrid which I mishit and hooked it to the left, near the greenside bunker. A mediocre chip got me on the green but too far away for par, so another bogey (+12)

Hole 18: Tough par 5 which need second shot to carry  another lake. Luck this time was with me, as my draw was too far right, and actually went through a bunch of trees miraculously and drew back into the fairway for a perfect drive. From there, 5 wood took me to around 90m and then a sand wedge dropped me within birdie range, of 6 feet. I missed it unfortunately and settled for par. (+12)

So after 5 consecutive double bogeys, I played the last 3 holes +2. I could have played a lot better, but those 3 drives were probably the best drives I’ve hit on these holes like in forever. But yet, couldn’t capitalise.

Hole 1: I boomed my drive again, I was feeling it. I actually even had the gall to pick my tee and walk away before the drive landed. It started right at the lake but was drawing back into the fairway. Embarrassingly, it drew and hit the rough, but because of it’s trajectory, it bounced back up to the right, and trickled into the pond! WTF! Dropped, hit the green in 3 and conjured a 3 putt again to put me back on double bogey. (+14)

Hole 2: Solid par 3, toughest in the course, I actually hit a pretty good 6 iron but drew it too much and it landed in the bunker. An easy out and barely missed my sandy par from 8 feet. Bogey (+15)

Hole 3: This should be an easy par 5, but I hit probably my worst drive of the day. It pulled and went down the hill for OB. My second drive was good and rolled down the fairway. My 5 wood from there hit ONE branch from the tree and plopped down the fairway. I had a 120m 5th shot, which found the fringe and two putted from there for another double bogey. (+17)

Hole 4: Hit this drive perfect, with a slight draw right to left. I now had a pitching wedge into a relatively easy hole location, which I duffed a bit and landed only to the front. A retarded chip got me on, but two putted for a bogey (+18)

Hole 5: I thought I hit my 7-iron perfect but for some strange reason, didn’t manage to reach this 150m green par 3. Still it was puttable, but instead of putting it close, I overcooked my putt and miss my par putt again. Bogey. (+19)

Hole 6: This drive was absolutely smoked like bacon. A slight draw kept it out of the right trouble, and it just caught the hill and rolled down to leave me around 100m to the downhill green. I thought sandwedge was good here, but amazingly, it was overcooked and landed at the back of the green! I hit another shot with my 60-degree (yes, it isn’t ethical but no one was behind us and I was fuming) and literally landed around 2 feet of this stupid hole. This plays almost a club and half shorter due to the downhill green. From the back of the green – three putted once more and bogey. (+20)

Hole 7: SMOKED the drive. Again. I felt like this driver was the hammer of Thor today. It was absolutely killing the ball. This drive now left me with around 140m to the green. I thought 9 iron would be plenty of club to reach but mind bogglingly, I ended up short, just barely hitting the front of the green, with a loooong putt to the back flag. Once more, three putted and bogey. (+21)

Hole 8: My drive, though not perfect was still plenty long. It just drew too much and left me with a difficult 2nd shot that needed to hook. I didn’t hit a good hook with my hybrid and was left with a 10m chip to an extremely undulating green. Hit the perfect chip. It bounced once against the front fringe, that took the zip off, and landed so soft onto the green that it almost went in. Instead I was left with a 3 foot putt uphill which even a borneo monkey with an iguana up his a$$ would not miss. Except I did. I rammed it too hard, it hit the side and spun my ball out and left me looking like the biggest idiot in the entire world. This putter is going back to the closet for another year. (+22)

Hole 9: Pretty much given up on my putting, I hit my 5 wood so well on this final hole that it was only about a metre or so from entering into the water. From there, a six iron left me with a great approach of around 90m to the severely uphill green. My gap wedge was pulled a bit unfortunately and left me with another testy chip similar to the previous hole. And once more, hit it perfect, and left me around 3 feet again for an unlikely par. Finally, did par the damn hole. (+22)

So – Started with a par, ended with a par. Between these, consecutive double bogeys, the best I’ve played the three Amen corner holes, and a whole load of perfect drives and truly spectaculary shitty putting. If the putter went to work the same day as the driver, I could probably knock off 4 – 5 strokes today. But it is what it is, and so – no matter how well you drive, it ain’t worth sh*t unless you arrive.

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Scoring at KGNS

Despite being a member of KGNS, the number of times I play there over one year can probably be counted with one hand. It’s such a waste of money each month, and furthermore, now both KGNS and Rahman Putra has put in the F&B fee of RM150 for all members. This means each quarter we need to spend RM150 or else it just gets deducted automatically from our membership fee! So this forces us to eat in the club – both clubs thankfully has passable (not terrible) food so it’s just a matter of playing there once in a while.

Wednesday is maintenance day for the championship course back 9, so for this game, we teed up front nine KGNS agong Course and cross over to the back 9 of the Mickey mouse putra course.

Hole 1: Par 5, relatively straightforward. A good drive, but my second shot with hybrid hooked and was lucky to be alive (not OB). Third shot from the trees with a pitching landed me to the front. Over powered my chip but thankfully hit the flag and trickled to around 6 feet for par. Missed, started with bogey. (+1)

Hole 2: Index hole that needs a great drive. I did not do a great drive and got caught in the trees on the right. I kept my 5 iron shot low and luckily avoided the trees to around 10 feet from the green. I nearly chipped in again to a few inches and tapped in for a Par. (+1)

Hole 3: This is again a straightforward par 4. Hit a very good drive right down the middle, and landed a bit on the rough. With a SAND WEDGE in hand to 100m, I SHANKED the beejeezus out of the ball! Muttering and now on the Hole 2 fairway, I hit my sand wedge to the green and two putted for an utterly unnecessary bogey. (+2)

Hole 4: Par 3, quite a long one. Hit a 5-iron but curled into greenside bunker. Blasted quite a good shot out to around 6 feet, but missed the par by inches. Bogey. (+3)

Hole 5: Supposedly the difficult par 4 with trouble on left water. I stripped my driver down the left and in a good position to get this on the green from about 140m. I opted to chicken out my approach with a pitching wedge and predictably fell short. A mediocre chip found me around 6 feet again from the hole and like the previous one, missed again. Bogey. (+4)

Hole 6: This is a short par 5, but an uphill walk (we were walking today) didn’t do us good. My drive was a bit right, and I hit a good 5 wood — but did not realise there was a fairway bunker smack in the middle of the fairway. So my third shot from bunker out to around 10 feet of the green, and I opted to chip, which wasn’t good and I missed my par, again. (+5)

Hole 7: Another long par 3, which my 5 iron didn’t even reach. It landed at the treacherous spot behind the green bunker which I had to flop over. I didn’t execute great but got lucky as my skulled ball hit the slope and ended up around 10 feet ofthe hole. Missed my par, settled for bogey. (+6)

Hole 8: Straightforward par 4 which I simply murdered the ball. Pitching wedge in hand, again I landed short. I noticed cow grass, my distance suffers. WHY? Chipping was a bit too strong and had around 10 feet again for par, and yes, you got it. I missed again (+7).

Hole 9: The ending hole is a nice par 4 which requires a good drive – which I did not oblige. My ball wound up right, around 10 yards from entering the water. I punched out and from fairway, hit a weak pitching wedge to the front of the green. Chipping? You bet. This time, I hit it ok and had a downhill putt of around 6 – 8 feet. Did I miss my bogey? No, sank in and ended up with (+8) on the front nine. Not bad.

The game could have gotten better if I was just confident with my putting (which I wasn’t). So switch over to the Mickey Mouse course and see what happens.

Hole 10: Almost immediately as a welcome, I pummelled my drive right down the fairway and only had about 70 meters or so left. I controlled my 60 degree to pin high, and only had to navigate 6 – 8 feet for a birdie. I didn’t play enough break and it lipped out. AUGH! Worse par I ever had (+8)

Hole 11: Short par 3, and using my pitching wedge got on the green and routine two putt for par (+8)

Hole 12: Beautiful par 5 with an elevated tee box. Hit a reasonable drive to the left and positioned for my third shot, from around 60 meters. Used again my 60 degrees but this time overcook slightly and had around 15 feet to get birdie. Missed again, so another par (+8).

Hole 13: Par 3 over water and once more pitching wedge found me on for regulation. However, because my partner OB’ed, I had to charge for my birdie putt to beat the other team. I flew it by around 5 feet and didn’t hit a good comeback – 3 putted for my bogey. (+9)

Hole 14: This is actually quite simple to navigate if you can hit fade shots. As such, I decided to use a 6-iron and actually landed pretty good distance, around 130m from the green. Once more my pitching wedge fell short. But I hit a good chip and just had around 6 feet downhill to maneuver for a par. This time, my partner had par also, so I decided to charge to get fringes, but missed the hole and ended up almost the same distance uphill as I started. Missed my comeback for bogey. Double bogey  and another 3 putt (+11)

Hole 15: This is a really taxing par 4 especially if you are walking and lugging your bag. I hit a bad drive that hooked left, hit a tree. I chopped out to around 120m from green and hit a great pitching wedge – pin high, around 10 feet to save par. I didn’t so another bogey. (+12)

Hole 16: The par 5 everyone wants to challenge. I overcranked my drive and turned it left into the woods. I hit a punch out and left with around 130 to the green. Again, I am stubbornly using my pitching for these shots even if knew it would be short. It WAS short but at least on the green. However, I had probably 30 – 40 feet to maneuver and yes, I ended up 3 putting the damn green for a bogey. (+13)

Hole 17: The most difficult par 3 – with around 190m, head wind and uphill. Even with my 5 wood, I barely crawled onto the fringe of the green. I putted to around 4 feet and sank it in for my par at last (+13)

Hole 18: The last hole, I just whacked what I thought was my best drive of the day. Right to left, following the dogleg all the way home. However, it clipped the last few branches of the tree on the left, and in turn left me with an awkward 5 iron punch out. This ended up in the greenside bunker. A reasonable out and two putted to end the game with a bogey. (+14)

This was par 71 course, which I ended up shooting a reasonable 85, which could have been a whole lot less if I had focused. So far, the drive was great, the chipping is improving and overall course management and iron shots have significantly improved. 85 isn’t bad, but of course, they don’t call it mickey mouse course for nothing!

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Palm Garden Pain

Palm Garden in Putrajaya is one of those golf courses where you take a look at it and go, “OK, I can score on this one. Why not, it looks so accessible.” The old Palm Garden way back before they built this one was a popular one with easy holes, rolling hills and great greens. It hasn’t changed much since, but for some reason, scoring well is never the agenda here.

Hole 1: This is a great hole to begin, an uphill tee shot to a dogleg right green. I hit a so-so tee shot that pulled left into the rough. I was in too deep and didn’t catch my second shot and still had the dreaded 50 metre pitch. Which I pulled again into the bunker. Fourth ball out, two putt for a bad double bogey start on a relatively easy hole. (+2)

Hole 2: This is an EASY hole with no excuse to fail. And I failed. I pulled again my gap wedge into the bunker, but it wasn’t an easy one. It had to clear a high lip and I just took too much ball and it sailed to the other bunker. Third ball out, two putt for a double bogey again. (+4). I am thinking there’s a lot of dates with Sandy today.

Hole 3: Apparently a difficult hole, but I managed to slam a great drive that left me about 140 or so. Using a 9 iron, I hit it pin high (for the last two holes, I was hitting pin high as well, except I pulled), slightly pulled to the left, on the fringe. I didn’t hit my putt hard enough (Palm was playing its slowest greens I ever played today). Settled for a par to steady the ship. (+4)

Hole 4:Into everyone’s favourite par 5, with a semi island green. Once more, I pulled my drive into the flower bed. Took a free drop and landed by wedge to around 120 or so again. I had an option to either take my pitching wedge which I would fly the green or take the risk with a gap. I hit a very good shot, but as expected, it was short, bounced near the green and landed around 10 inches from the water. Sometimes, Luck shines down. From there, I navigated a two putt to go par-par after a double-double start (+4)

Hole 5: Another par 5. Didn’t hit a particularly good drive though, but it still ran a bit. Took out my hybrid, landed it left a bit. I was in a very clear area with a pitching wedge to the green, but somehow I didn’t manage to draw it back and it landed just outside the green – instead of pitching, I opted to putt and had a 4 footer for my third par. I missed it. Missed the escalation par and got really pissed. (+5)

Hole 6: Long par 4 which I drove furious. The drive left me with a reasonably simple 8 iron to the green. For some heck of a reason, I pulled it again. AGAIN. It should be the perfect time to hit a good chip but instead I skulled the damn ball almost over the green. Putt for par missed, settled for bogey. (+6) Such a waste of a good drive, honestly.

Hole 7: This is a very long par 3 which I almost never do well. This time I hit my hybrid (I’ve replaced my old 7 wood with a newer burner hybrid with varying success and failure). I pulled it to the left, but had a lucky bounce. I hit a reasonable 60 degree chip which just hit a small knoll on the green and skittered past the hole. I had to charge for my par as my partner was completely hacking the hole, taking 3 shots from the bunker. So I charged my par putt way past the hole, missed the comeback and settled for double. (+8)

Hole 8: I don’t like this hole because they set the tee boxes far right, and with my draw/hook shot, I had to aim to start right, which in this case, is straight at a damn tree. I can’t fade/slice to save my life, so I had to tee right at the left edge of the box, with my standing outside the tee ground. True enough, I hit the same shot but this time escaped the tree, and landed around 50m from the green for my pitching. I didn’t hit a good one, left slightly short of an amazingly inclined green. I didn’t reach the hole for my birdie try, and had around 4 feet to navigate for par, which I promptly missed as well. Furious bogey. (+9) What a far cry from my putting at Mines 2 weeks ago.

Hole 9: Whatever I escaped in Hole 8, karma came back and bit my ass. Again I started to draw this right to left, but my tee shot slammed into the tree on the right, dropped. My caddy (who sucked) said he saw it drop. After 5 minutes of searching, I had to angrily return to my tee box, reload and promptly whacked one to the right again that never drew back. I punched out my 5-iron 4th shot over the green. Flopped back near the green for my fifth and two putted for my TRIPLE BOGEY. (+12). I was pretty mad, because I couldn’t believe we couldn’t find my first ball.

+12 over 9 holes isn’t cool. But as bad as you think I play – it was that triple bogey that sucked the life out of the 9 hole and those short par putts that really annoyed me. It wasn’t as if I was playing bad, but like all golfers, you tend to blame the breaks.

Hole 1: I hooked my tee shot abit here on this long par 5. I still had a reasonable lie on the left rough and looking to punch it out again. Unbelievably, my five iron hit the only tree in front of me – which wasn’t even close – and bounded out of bounds on the left. It’s exactly the same occurence a few rounds back on the par 5 4th, Hit the only damn tree in the vicinity and goes left. Dropped, played it out, my 5th shot still had a long way and I had to hit my 5 wood which ended up near the green. I duffed my stupid chip for six on but so far from the hole. Two putted for Triple. Back to back. (+15)

Hole 2: The downhill hole. Hit my driver controlled and left with a pitching wedge into the green, which was strangely short. I was left with a reasonably easy chip, sitting uphill sort of chip, which I hit it too hard. I really cannot chip for nuts. The par putt almost went in and unfortunately settled for bogey. At least I stem the leak a bit. (+16)

Hole 3: Hit what I thought was a perfect gap, but since it drew, it trickled down the left side and left me with a horrendous lag putt to climb a hill and go straight down another. My other partners putted and couldn’t stop the downhill rolling 15 – 20 feet past. I hit probably my best lag putt ever and had a 4 footer (which I have been missing all the time) for a par, which I finally – FINALLY – hit. I even did a fist bump here. (+16)

Hole 4: The Hateful Par 5. I hit a safe driver – not long, but at least dry. Then took a 9 to hit to around 120m. Finally hit a great approach, pin high, uphill putt around 8 feet. Birdie time? Hell yeah. First birdie ever on this hole, I think! (+15)

Hole 5: I hit a solid 9 iron into this green that was teeing off at the white tees with red pin at the front. It was perfect, and dropped to around 6 feet of the cup. It was very close, closer than my previous birdie. 2 birdies in a row again? I think it got to me, because I just rammed through the break and lipped out. It was horrible par. (+15)

Hole 6: Despondent over the horrid miss, I hooked my drive far left to the next green. From there, I hit a 5 wood that almost sailed past the trees but caught the last branch. It still dropped to around 150m for a shot on the green. With my 8 iron, I hit a shot that never drew. It landed on the bunker. I hit a great bunker shot that left me around 6 feet of the hole. This to get my escalation and sandy par fringe! Did I hit it? NO. I hit it SHORT amazingly. Another par missed within 8 feet! It was so damn frus! (+16)

Hole 7: I think I never recovered from there. This is honestly an EASY hole, if you tee off with a wood or iron and land it to the 100m marker. The problem was, our ego always dictated that we try to drive the green, because it was downhill and around 290m away. ALWAYS. I hit mine pretty ok, but too left and into the bunker. My out was not great, but depending on my chip after that – which obviously is undependable. I duffed it AGAIN, and while it was on, it was too far away for a chance for par. I slammed my par putt way past and couldn’t get my return bogey and settled for a messy double on the easiest hole ever. (+18)

Hole 8: This par 3 downhill, I used a 9 iron to try to coax it in there. It was hit cleanly but it didn’t reach, landing to the chipping zone. My chip this time went too far and my par putt brush the hole, settled for another bogey due to my inability to execute the simple CHIP. (+19)

Hole 9: Finally on the last hole. This is the signature ending hole, which I promptly hit a good drive finally. I was now center of the fairway with a pitching wedge in hand. What did I do? Whacked it too far right into, yes, the chipping zone. Did I end up hitting a great chip? The answer is no. It skittered too far and my comeback par putt ended up nudging the hole. My chipping was good a while back but now back to this stupid ineptitude. (+20)

Conclusion: +20 on palm? That’s BAD. Look, its mainly a few things: Last 3 holes could have save me 3 shots. The missed short putts, probably another 3 shots. Palm is all about “What if”s. Also, Palm garden’s contours on the greens are horrible difficult to judge. Additionally, contours on the fairways make this golf course sometimes unrewarding even if you are on the fairway, as you could be on a slope. If we can navigate this, we can navigate through Palm’s defences. As of now, the chipping continues to hurt.

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Tropicana Crash and Burn

The amazing thing about golf is that you can be playing amazing one week and the very next game play like an African Gibbon. It’s very strange in that sense that it’s like a roll of the dice week in week out. You think you got it all figured out and golf just whacks you in the ass the next time and go, “Screw you, you know nothing about me, sucker!” and you are left wondering why the heck you continue to play this torturous game.

After last week’s 81 in Mines I was thinking I can go to Tropicana and score a really good score. You know, since I am playing “well”, and I had 3 birdies the last time out. Tropicana shouldn’t be an issue, right? We’ll see. We teed up at West 3, and then Cross Over to East 1. And boy, was I in for a hiding.

Hole 10: So in the West 3 – East 1 combo, West 3 is technically the back 9, so we started off on this relatively easy par 4, 10th hole. I hit a really good drive – honestly, it was good – great shot shape, but it drew in a bit and caught just the tip of the bunker, like maybe a few centimetres from safety, and rolled back in, right next to the high lip. From there, I could just do an easy out and 3 on. But I thought I was so good from last week, so I did a jackass thing in trying to reach the green with a 9 iron. Obviously I couldn’t carry the lip and it landed back in. Idiot. Took my medicine, out with my sand wedge. From 100m, I pulled my gap wedge 4th shot way left. I did hit a reasonable chip to on and one putted for a double bogey. (+2) All the loving feeling for golf is gone in one hole.

Hole 11: Trying to shrug off Hole 10, this is an impressive Hole 11, with a dogleg right to a downhill green. My tee shot was left a bit in the rough and around 120m from the green. I thought since it was downhill, front pin, with water at the back, I could muscle my gap wedge in there. Bad decision again. The rough was too thick to get purchase, and my ball hit the leaves of the coconut tree and ambled around 30m from the green. A mediocre chip found me around puttable distance, which I put on and one putted for bogey. Hey at least, I’ve one-putted my first two holes! (+3)

Hole 12: With an 8-iron I flew this too far right almost to the flowerbed. Took a drop and hit a reasonably good chip to around 8 feet and sank in the par putt. Yes! Another one putt! (+3)

Hole 13: This was a struggle, because I teed off with a 6-iron and had around 130m to go. I was caught between a pitching or a 9-iron and since it was an uphill green, I opted a 9-iron and hooked the hell out of this ball. It landed at an impossible downhill slope near the flowerbed, with no drop, so I had to semi punch-skewer the ball to the green area with my third shot. I hit a bad putt for my 4th and two putted for my double bogey. (+5). The hits keep coming.

Hole 14: Once more, a very bad swing and my shot hooked into the water on the left. It was a good thing it hooked, because I managed to drop it around 150 or so from the green. My third shot with a 9-iron found me right at the front of the green and from there navigated with a putt to put on, and another putt to hole it for bogey. (+6). Another one putt!

Hole 15:Again, my drive was pulled (I am struggling today with drives) and almost entered the water but stayed dry. This was a routine pitching wedge to the green but instead I skulled it and it shot left. Thankfully, it caught the greenside bunker that prevented it from entering the water. From there, one out and two putted for another bogey. (+7)

Hole 16: This should be a straightforward par 5, but as I expected to hook again, I aimed it too far right and it caught the tree. I used my 9 iron to lay up to about 100m and hit a mediocre gap wedge to the center of the large green. Unfortunately I three putted, with my third putt missing from 4 feet. Sucks. Bad bogey. (+8)

Hole 17: This is a good par 3, front pin and easy. Or so I thought. I was going in with a gap wedge and still conjured to miss the green left with a pull. From there, I hit an awful putt that didn’t even reach into the green. From the fringe, a two putt left me with another bogy (+9)

Hole 18: Already sort of fuming at my game, we reached the last hole this 9, the difficult par 5 uphill. I always struggle here, but this time, a perfect drive left me with the thought of going for it in 2. Wisdom overcame me — for once, and I just layed up to about 100m, and then with a gap wedge, took my third to the green and routine two putted to end this nine with par. (+9)

As I crossed over, I have reasonable feeling with putter after hitting some good distance putts. My driver wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible either – I’ve had a few good whacks with it that really flew. It’s my irons that’s struggling, as I can’t seem to get the proper distance this time around – and also my short game – chips etc around the greens. No surprise there. Last week I was +10 over 18. This week, I am +9 over 9. That’s golf.

Hole 1: I completely whacked the crap out of this hole with my drive as I landed around 130m from the green. This is a long one, with a very steep green uphill. I hit a pretty good 9 iron to be honest, but it just held the straight line too long and didn’t draw enough. It hit the side of the green just a few feet from the back flag and rolled back down into the valley. With my chips resembling a blind hyena, I decided to putt uphill (I am obviously not on the green). The uphill putt is around 50 degrees tilt or so I think, so I hammered it through the green to the other side. Two putted for my bogey. It’s such a waste after that drive. (+10)

Hole 2: This hole I usually take out the driver, but decided to use a 5 wood this time and see if I can navigate it better. Not a good hit, landed in the rough on the left, around 150m away from the green. Since it was front pin and down hill I thought a 9 iron can get me home. I pulled it and it yanked to the left, to a valley similar to Hole 1. Once more, I opted to putt with the same result – I blasted it through the hole. This time, my putt came around 4 feet short and I missed the short putt. First three putt for double bogey. (+12)

Hole 3: Never play a par 3 when pissed. I was pissed and with an 8-iron I duffed my tee shot, leaving me an awkward lie with ball above feet, around 80m from the hole. To balance my duff, I skulled my second shot into the water behind the green. My 4 on putt was fantastically bad and I had to two putt for my triple bogey. (+15)

Hole 4: This time, I whacked a perfect drive to the right on this long par 5. I wanted to see if I can reach the green 230m away with my 5-wood, until I calmed down a bit and saw the stupidity of such an endeavour. Instead, I layed up behind the water, and put it on with my 3rd shot gap wedge. The downhill first putt left me around 5 feet to save par, which I did. (+15)

Hole 5: Traditionally a tough hole wit water on the right. I hooked my ball left, leaving me a very difficult lie. I could only punch out and left with around 40m to the green. Instead of pitching, I opted a bump and run (from 40m). The only place I could hit this was at the slope fronting the green and coax it onto the green with red pin. Which I did. I probably hit the best bump and run chip of my life. I still had to navigate 5 feet of green for a par save, which miraculously I managed to. (+15). Things are looking up!

Hole 6: And just as it looks up, it comes crashing down again. This is a par 5 that I usually can score. However, this time, I hit a drive so straight and long, it ran out of fairway and bounded to the slope on the right, which was OB land. I reloaded, and hit almost the same shot. God darn it! When I went to look for the ball, I found both my balls, near each other. However. One was OB. The other one was in the drain, which according to the caddy was a free drop.

Now, the last time out in Trops, we had a contentious drop. Here, this was the problem. I used Maxfli balls to tee off. The whole day I’ve been using Maxfli with the number 4 (because I want play 4 strokes on every hole). My backup ball usually is Maxfli 3. Now unfortunately, for this hole, I did not take the time to identify my second ball which I reloaded. Because the OB ball was number 3, and the ball in the drain was Number 4. The caddy said, your first ball is the one in the drain. The second provision ball was in OB.

I asked, How do you know? Because I did not identify my ball before I hit the provision. (I didn’t think I would lose it the same spot as ball 1 but it’s a stupid excuse. We must ALWAYS ID our provision ball!). He said, based on ball flight, and the fact I am always using ball 4 for all my other holes. My buggy partner came up to me and said, he can vouch I tee off with number 4 as he saw my ball a few holes and saw the number, from the putts etc. But again, I did not identify my tee ball OR my provision ball. And both are almost identical except for the number.

The question I asked myself: Caddy was sure, partner was sure, but was I sure? I was 95% sure that my first ball was in the drain and not in OB based on ball flight and playing habit throughout the day. But was 95% sure the same as 100%? This is the same story where this week, Sung Kang, a PGA golfer was accused of cheating with an incorrect drop, where he said he was 95% sure he was correct.

95% ain’t 100%. And in golf, you need to be 100%. Especially if we are playing for money, which we were, as usual.

So I told them, ah sh*t, I will just take the OB ball because that’s 5% and I can at least sleep at night. So I dropped the OB ball in the rough and whacked what must be my best 5 wood for a long time, which sailed almost onto the green. Unfortunately, from that prime position to at least save double, I managed to duff my chip into the bunker. Six out to the green and two putted for an ugly (but God honest) 8. (+18)

Hole 7: After the long hold up, I approached the par 4 seven, which had trouble left. As my swing is so retarded, I decided to hook it into OB! So previous hole was a push right into OB, now, a hook left into OB. WTF!!! Reteed again, wallop it perfect, a 9-iron second shot landed in the rough near the green. 5-on with a remarkably mediocre chip, and two putted for my second triple bogey in a row. (+21)

Hole 8: Par 3 downhill 110m. This looks exactly like hole 17. And my shot also ended up the same place as hole 17. I hit a good shot, but it bounced on the green, and slipped down the valley on the left. Again left with the familiar uphill putt up the valley, I finally executed ONE correctly. It left me around 4 feet to par, which I did. With a fist pump! (+21)

Hole 9: Final hole, I pulled my drive a bit to the left rough but was reasonably ok. My gap wedge found the green, but unfortunately on the top shelf, where the putt was so devastatingly quick, I only touched the ball and it rolled 6 feet past the hole. My return putt wasn’t high enough and ended the day with a bogey 3 putt. (+22)

Honestly, I didn’t feel my game was way off. It was a touch off, but it was all that was needed in Tropicana. Trops biggest defence are the greens. Most of the greens are tabletop, where a slight miss will send you down some Valley of Doom where your chip needs to be on (not like mine, which is perpetually OFF). Whereas Mines, when you miss the greens you can still putt on and get it close, it’s nearly impossible to do the same in Tropicana when you are faced with an uphill putt to a green, with a slope at 60% angle. My putting is still feeling good, and aside from a few bad decisions, I feel this 94 could have got down to 88 or something. On the OB drop hole – I lost about 2 strokes there for playing my OB ball. Well, at least I can say I play an honest 94, much better than a contentious 88.

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Mines Golf Course: The Sub-80 round challenge

By far, Mines Golf Course is turning into my favourite golf course of all time. This is the third round for the year here, the first in which the 17th hole is now facing our current prime minister’s home. On February, I scored probably the best score I ever had in a long time – an 83 despite losing 5 balls. And despite having a hopeless short game at that point. The next round wasn’t so great as I played 88. But Mines was also the place where back in 2015, I litted up the course with 2 birdies on the back 9, and 9 pars  overall. So you can see this is definitely a course I love playing – its probably because of the broad fairways, the slower greens, and the problems set up for the hooker is less here. It just suits the eye for a lot of holes. and gives me confidence.

Hole 10: So much for confidence. We started off on the 10th, which isn’t a great hole to start, as the big-ass tree sits right in the middle of the fairway. The best position is on the left, but too much left, you end up in the hazard, which I promptly obliged with a horrible hook tee shot. I dropped and hit a 9 iron to the left rough, and I knew today wasn’t the day where I would excel in chipping, as I skulled my 4th shot to the back of the green, missed the comeback and started with a double bogey. Great. (+2).

Hole 11: This is a difficult par 3, uphill, around 160m, trouble on the right. My 6-iron barely clung on to the side on the right fringe, and a devilish downhill about 15 feet. I did not expect much from this, as I started the ball too quickly. It would have flashed by the hole 5 – 6 feet easily – but luck as it was, it slammed into the flag and dropped into the hole for a birdie out of nowhere (+1). OK!

Hole 12: The relatively easy par 5 which I have hit the damn tree on the right of the tee box everytime this year. It’s becoming a joke. They are going to name the tree after me. And yes, this time I hit it again, although barely rustled the leaves and my pushed drive landed into the fairway bunker. My 6-iron out was good, and left me with a nice 130m to the green. Stupidly I short sighted with my pitching wedge which I didn’t hit proper. It landed short, around 15 feet from the green, and I opted to putt. I could still par from there and get my score low. I was 4 on, with around 6 feet to navigate for par. I missed it, as the putt grazed the side of the hole but did not fall. Should have parred, but instead, bogey! (+2)

Hole 13: This and the next hole are killers – I wish I can escape with bogey for both, I would be happy. I hit an ok drive, straight on the 4th – but short. So much so that my second shot 6-iron landed a good 20 feet from the green. Without an option to putt, I tried to do my second chip of the day and duffed it. My chip is once more struggling, not as bad as before, but still….Chipped on for 4 on, and two putted for a stupid 6. I should have saved a stroke here if my chip was on. (+4)

Hole 14: Funnily, this hole – which is probably the rare holes in Mines that does not suit my eye – yielded my best drive. Dead straight, and perfect position around 140m or so. I used a 9 iron to muscle it there, but landed short. A reasonably good putt from off the green gave me just 3 – 4 feet which I navigated for my par. Finally didn’t screw up the hole! (+4)

Hole 15: This is a great hole to drive. Short hole, trouble right and if left, the hill usually carries the ball back down to the fairway. You can launch it for this one without fear if you don’t slice. My drive was so good, I only had around 50 – 60 meters to the downhill green. This wasn’t optimal as I struggle these distances. I had to opt for a save shot, and landed my 60 degree almost 20 – 25 feet away from the hole. Snaky downhill putt? No problem. Amazingly, I putted it in for my second birdie in this 9. YOW! Some serious scoring today! (+3)

Hole 16: Simple par 3,around 140 and the easiest par 3 in this course – my pitching wedge, which I thought I could muscle in – landed slightly short about 8 – 10 feet from the green. Luckily it was a red front pin. So I opted to putt. Guess what? The ball rolled in for my second bird in a row, and third overall this 9, after 7 holes! The caddy then told me I should try to go Q-School now. Yeah, right. (+2)

Hole 17: Tun’s hole because the green front’s Tun M’s (Our prime minister)’s house. The irony here is that a few blocks down, our FORMER prime minister has also bought a lot and currently building his fortress. It looks like a pyramid, and Fort Knox. Another good drive still left me around 175 – 180 meters to the uphill green. My driving and putting was seriously on for the first time today. My 5 iron second shot wasn’t great, but I was left with a puttable distance. My first putt was poor, as I thought it was downhill but it turned out to be uphill. Par putt grazed the side but had to settle for a bogey. It’s an ok score on this difficult hole, but it’s just that I’ve been scoring on this hole so well in past games. (+3)

Hole 18: Final hole this 9, I thought I hit a perfect shot that curved, following the fairway. But this is a tricky hole. Too much curve and it would be OB, so need to be careful next time. I was lucky that the ball didn’t end up in OB this time around, as it hugged the fairway on the left next to the jungle. But with no way into the green as blocked by trees, I had to muster a draw/hook shot around the trees. I did try, but I hit a great draw which wasn’t enough. Landed pin high, but on the right fringe with severe slope back to the green. Again with no confidence in the chips, I opted to putt off green. Which  overcooked and had to two putt back for an easy bogey. Ok. (+4)

Looking back at my first nine 39 score, I looked to be on track for some serious consideration to break 80 for the first time. My best ever score was many years back in Damai Laut for 80, and then I had a few 82, 83 here and there, but never in the 70s. My first 9 could have been  a lot better if I had capitalise to save 2 strokes on the 3rd and 4th where it was just missed short putt and duffed chip. But you know, that’s how golf is. How did I birdie 3 of 9 holes? Good putting, ok, but lots of luck too. So, as they say, Golf giveth and golf taketh away.

Hole 1: Started the back 9 with a solid straight drive that was a few feet away from the second fairway bunker. I was in the rough, with an uphill of around 110m. This is a green you do not want to go long as it drops into hazard after that. With a pitching wedge, that’s exactly what I did, but amazingly, the ball stayed up on the fringe, inches away from dropping into the valley. From there, a routine two putt for par. Golf giveth here. (+4)

Hole 2: This is a great Par 5. It has water on the left all the way and shaped like a boomerang. I hit a straight drive – but I was aiming way right thinking I would draw, so for the second shot, I was in deep rough. Couldn’t muscle my hybrid out and ended up behind the trees. A punch out to 100m and I could still hit a good approach – only I didn’t. I skulled my sand wedge to the back of the green. It was a 40 foot downhill putt, which I almost got it into the hole, missing by a few inches. Tapped in for bogey. Putter is feeling it. (+5)

Hole 3: Tough Par 4, index 1. It’s a long one, so even after a straight (but not very long) drive, I found myself around 180 to the green. My hybrid was pretty good, and I found myself around 10 feet  from the green, and puttable distance. Unfortunately, my off the green putt was bad, and shot past the hole for a 15 footer comeback. Missed, and tapped in for bogey. (+6).

Hole 4: This is relatively an easy hole if you can avoid the water on the right. Anything left is fine, which was what I did, put it on the fairway with around 100-110m to the green. Gap wedge it in to around 20 feet, and from there two putted for routine par. (+6).

Hole 5: I suppose this was where my sub-80 round unravelled. It was just one of those moments where it’s like sliding doors – IF ONLY I had chosen this, instead of that. In this case, I was holding a six iron staring at a flag around 150m or so away, but with water fronting it. For some reason, I then opted for a 7-iron. As I hit it, it was hit well and good, but the wind must have picked up because I missed the front of the green by a few feet, at the WORST possible spot, where it rolled down and down to a valley, and all the way to the edge of the water….stopped there for a few seconds…and plopped into the drink. If I had stayed with the six, I could probably have saved a shot. As it was, a drop, overputted it and two putted to the hole for a double bogey, my first double since the 4th hole. (+8)

Hole 6: Hole 6 is a great risk and reward par 4. It’s drivable, and I’ve actually driven it before. But because I hit a draw, in order to get this to the hole, I have to aim to the water on the right and hope it draws back. Being +8 now, I couldn’t afford to drop any strokes if I wanted to break 80, so I opted to aim straight instead. Sure enough, I drew it and the ball landed almost pin high but behind the greenside bunker. The worst shot ever for me. My chip didn’t even reach the green and my second chip finally got on, around 10 feet. Amazingly, the putter worked and I saved par. Still in the hunt! (+8)

Hole 7: And so the challenge ends. I skulled my 5 iron on this difficult par 3, which requires a carry of around 160 or so over water to the green. I should have bailed out on the left, but you know – wisdom being easier on hindsight. My ball ended up in the water, and from the drop, I put it on – two putted for double bogey, and ending all hopes for a sub 80 round. Unless I birdie the last two holes (+10).

Hole 8: This Par 5 is always nice to play. A good drive found me around 220-230m away from the green, which has a valley in front of it. There was no way I could reach it as I only have my 5-wood (no 3-wood) with me. Even so, I had to go for it, so I hit the 5-wood – well – but short, and ended up in the valley front of the green. A mediocre chip up found me on the fringe and another mediocre putt into the green had me to navigate around 8 feet of a curling left to right. Just like hole 6, my putter again worked magic and dropped the ball in for par. Nice – but not enough. (+10)

Hole 9: Final hole. And for once, a bad drive that faded as opposed to drew. But it was so long that it cleared all the trees and was on the rough right of the buggy track, around 140m from the hole. It was deep – and I could only muscle my 9-iron out to the front of the green, where it is puttable. I’ve been putting all day from this distance (just off the green), so why not. My birdie attempt again, was inches from dropping. Tapped in for par on the final hole (+10)

So I ended the best game this year with an 81. And the irony of it is that if only I managed to get two strokes back. Hole 12 and hole 13 comes to mind – both holes I could have saved a stroke. On the back 9, it was Hole 5. If I only had stuck with my 6-iron, I would have at least reached the green and maybe saved a stroke or so. But on retrospect, there were putts and birdies out there I had no right hitting and 6 pars + 3 birdies (all on the front nine) is a bloody good score … so Golf giveth and golf taketh away!

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Tournament at Rahman Putra

We had a small tournament with around 18 flights, 71 people at Rahman Putra. Not my most beloved course, even if I have been a member there for more than 12 years.

Hole 1: Worse possible start. Not sure if it was just the jitters on the first tee or the morning stiffness, but I sent my first tee way right (slice, which is extremely unusual). Taking a drop, I duffed my 9 iron into the pond again. 5th shot to around 100 meters. 6th shot was just on the fringe, 7th shot on and putted in for a quadruple to start. (+4)

Hole 2: Didn’t get better with this horribly long par 3. Hooked left with my hybrid, which was the first time I was using this club for a long time. I should have stuck to a 5-iron. Flopped to just behind the bunker, and my chip wasn’t very good, as it just passed the bunker to the edge. 4th short putt on, but was so short. 5th missed, and putted for a triple. (+7). I am 2 holes in the tournament and I was dead last.

Hole 3: The Par 5 gave some respite, and the thing about Rahman and my game is that when I do get a lot of streaky play here. Once I lit up this course with 9 pars in a row. With a good drive and a strangely good hybrid (straight at least), my 3rd shot with a sandwedge left me only around 10 feet for a birdie. I missed it right, settled for par. Great. (+7)

Hole 4: A good drive left me around 150m to the hole, which a 9-iron took me on, not as near but reasonably close for a routine 2 putt par. (+7)

Hole 5: Par 3, and I hit my 8-iron way short on this 150m hole. However, managed to put in a very good chip (!) to around 5 feet and sank in the par. 3 in a row, escalation! (+7)

Hole 6: This hole traditionally is a struggle due to trouble left and right. There is a small window to hit a good drive to and as it is, I got into that window with a good one. I had only a pitching wedge into a downhill green, and put it on. My first putt wasn’t great and left me with around 5 – 6 fee to navigate for my 4th par in a row. Which I did. On a streaky roll now. (+7)

Hole 7: This is not an easy one, and my drive pulled left into the rough didn’t do any favours. I had around 150 – 155m in the rough to the green, and with a 6 iron, I whacked an arrow out that just managed to clear the greenside bunker, bounced luckily twice into the fringe that took the speed out and trickled dead onto the green to around 5 feet of a front flag. Awesome and a great look at birdie. I don’t know why I played the break from 5 feet, but I did, and I miss a sitter. Which sucked the wind out of me. Still, a par. (+7). So first two holes=+7. Next five holes = +0.

Hole 8: This is the longest drive hole (and the most difficult on this 9). I hit to about 220m, which was a bad hit, since I popped the ball. But later, I found out all the big hitters cranked up and all missed the fairway, leaving only me at 220m distance and I won the novelty prize – a brandnew stand bag. This must be the shortest winner ever! Anyway, from around 170, I pulled my hybrid again to the left and around a few feet to a difficult green. I was still in a great position, but my putt from off the green was about 5 – 6 inches short of entering the green. The slope is so severe that once you enter the green, it just rolls all the way down. So I was 5-6 inches away from a perfect putt. As it was, my fourth shot putt couldn’t brake and rolled 15 feet past the hole. Two putted for double bogey. (+9)

Hole 9: I hit a perfect shot with my 5-wood. Then as I was hitting my second shot,  I don’t know why I didn’t opt for my 6 iron, but maybe because I was feeling it with my 5-wood. I completely whiffed the damn ball and it splashed into the water fronting me. 4th shot was pulled to the rough, fifth shot out of the rough to the side of the green. Six shot was a skulled chip (struggled with my chips yet again) to the other side of the green and two putted for a triple 8th on a relatively easy par 5. Dang! (+12)

So there you have it, 5 great holes sandwiched between a quadruple, a double and two triple bogeys. This was typical streaky play, but at least I’ve played myself back up the board a bit and have a bit of chance going into the back nine.

Hole 10: And that bit of chance bit the dust. I pulled my drive into the hazard on the left. Dropped for 3, hit an absolute cracker with my 5-wood to about 60 meters of the green. I was supposed to hit a great pitch to get at least 4 on, but no, I chunked my 60 degree to around 20m of the green. A poor chip resulted in a 5 on and too far to do much, so two putted for double. On another easy, scorable par 5. (+14)

Hole 11: My 5 wood was crushing today for some reason. Good tee, but my hybrid yet again pulled like a bloody boomerang. 4 times used, 3 times boomeranged left. With about 10 m from the green, I chunked my chip again short. Horrible day chipping, after all the good vibes over the past few games. I putted on and managed to at least sink my bogey. My first bogey of the day. (+15)

Hole 12: This is a good par 3 with trouble on left. I hit a good six iron but it didn’t draw enough and was just caught in the right rough near the green. Routine chip would have set up a good chance for par, but instead I yipped it across the green to the other side rough. Stupid chips! I managed to at least hit a good return chip with my 60 degree to around 8 feet, and save bogey. (+16)

Hole 13: This is a scorable hole. But I ballooned my drive and it hit the edge of the bunker on the right and trickled back in. So unlucky – but this was my first time I think hitting this bunker because I usually take it out of play with driver. Bunker out to about 60m from the hole, three on with a lob wedge and didn’t hit a particularly good par putt, but was good for the 6 footer comeback bogey. (+17)

Hole 14: This dual green hole today had upper green for the pin. I hit a drive but couldn’t clear the grass bunker in the middle. The rough was too thick in there, and I just barely chopped out, with 50m left. My ball was literally next to a decomposing dead rat on the fairway (or squirrel, I don’t know which), that had flies and maggots all over it. I asked for relief, which my partners kindly gave (though I am not sure if in actual tournament it is allowed). I think it should have been a penalty drop, but because our tournament was somewhat friendly (we give putts within putter length, we allow OB drops, and one guy even had a Bushnell Range Finder out every hole), my partners were fine with me just moving the ball slightly back so I wouldn’t be standing in a heap of dead maggots. It didn’t really help anyway, since I skulled my lob wedge to the back of the green. Seeing how shitty my chipping was, I opted to putt off the green. It wasn’t a good putt at all and I two putted for a double. What a carnage hole. (+19)

Hole 15: The easiest par 3. An easy 9-iron got me within a good range for a routine two putt par. (+19)

Hole 16: The last 3 holes are horrendously difficult, especially if your legs are wilting. This one, I sliced my drive like the first hole and left me with a difficult 160-170m to to the green. I pulled my 5 iron slightly and landed to the edge of the greenside bunker. A bad out with my lob wedge. I was still 3 on, but I navigated the downhill putt poorly, and ended up too much to do for my 10 foot comeback. I think, my first 3 putt of the day. Double (+21)

Hole 17: A very good drive left me with no choice but to cross the water around 170m. My hybrid for once was hit very well and straight. Problem was I was aiming way right thinking it would boomerang again. So, for my third shot, I had to stand against the pine tree and just hit a prayer. And God answered, because it was probably the best I could have hit it. It landed softly and trickled to around 10 feet of the hole. I missed my par, settled for bogey. (+22)

Hole 18: This needed a good drive to have a prayer to cross the water with my 2nd. We were playing off nearly the maximum back tees, so even with a good drive, I was looking at maybe 170m to cross. My 5 wood was hit the best I could have hit it. I was around 100m away from a uphill green with my 3rd, and my gap wedge found the green. A not so great first putt still left me around 4 feet to put in a very good par on the final hole. Which I did. (+22)

With a gross score of 94, it was one better than my previous game, but because I blew up 3 holes, on the handicap of the day of 18, I scored a miserly 33 points on Stableford, miles away from the top dog who scored 40 points. In fact, from 71 players, I was placed a mediocre 27. Those 5 pars in a row make for good reading though. Honestly the 5-wood was jamming today (except for that hole 9 nonsense), and my putter (which I have changed to a mallet now) was very good. My chipping was nightmarish and my drives were probably mediocre as well. Ah well, at least I won the stand bag for the longest drive!

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Failing at Kota Permai

We haven’t played Kota Permai for a very, very long time. So much so that I was surprised at the new refurbished front and locker rooms, which has been done quite a long while ago. To my memory, Kota Permai has been reasonably a good scoring course, except for a few holes that I totally detests, especially those with hazard on the left, which for some reason, a lot of holes have this.

Hole 1: This is a broad and friendly par 5 to start the day with, which I promptly pulled my tee shot to the left, but it wasn’t that bad. This pulled drive will be the flavour of today – after driving so well for the past game, I thought I had my drives figured out. Well, not. Apparently. From the left trees, I carve a low punch to the rough around 150m from the pin. My 9 iron was just slightly short to the fringe and I opted to putt onto the hollow-tined greens. Bad first putt, and then two putt to start with a bogey. (+1)

Hole 2: This is a difficult hole for me, made so by the large body of water lining the left side, skinny fairways, no bailout on the right and trees in front of my tee box that prevents me from drawing in. I did hit the tree with my tee shot (again) but miraculously escaped but plopped very short distance. Faced with a 160m or so to the green guarded by water, my 7 iron failed to turn in and plopped into the water. Dropped for 4th, on the green, two putt for double. (+3)

Hole 3: A fairly difficult hole, which I hit a drive right that never drew back. Under the tree, I had to punch a five iron out to trees on the left. A poor 60 degree overshot the green for my third. Chip back wasn’t great and two putted for a really ugly double bogey (+5).

Hole 4: A long par 3 (all par 3s in Kota Permai are long), which a 7 iron almost reached, but dropped into the greenside bunker. A routine out and two-putt for bogey. (+6)

Hole 5: This should just be an easy drive and easy iron into an accessible green. But the three of us literally hit it at the same place in the fairway left bunker. Same, that we had to mark our balls because they were inches away from each other. With a high lip, there was no chance to go for green, so it was out to 100m, a sand wedge in and two putt for bogey (+7)

Hole 6: Finally, a good shot into a long par 3. Five iron right to the middle with a bit of draw, and two putted for routine par! (+7)

Hole 7: This isn’t a terribly difficult par 5 but it’s made worse if you pull your drive. Which  of course, I did. Hit a tree on my second, my third out to around 120m. Fourth with a PW to the edge of the green. Fifth on, not a good putt and two putted (missing a three footer) for a really, really disgusting double. (+9)

Hole 8: The toughest hole on the course due to its length. Pulled another drive into the bunker. Again, the high lip makes it impossible to do anything but to just plop it out. My third pitching wedge from 120 was so pulled it entered into the greenside bunker. From there, out for 4 on and two putt for ANOTHER DOUBLE BOGEY (+11)

Hole 9: At this point, I knew the drive was struggling. To abbreviate the follow through helped me keep it straighter, but it also caused my drive to be very short. In this hole, it was fairway hit but a massive 150m away to a very uphill green with back pin. With a 6-iron, I finally hit one of those shots that makes you want to play golf forever. It started right, slightly drawing into the green that slopes remarkably into a valley on the left. Even landing on the front, it almost rolled off. Pin high, uphill putt, around 10 feet. Birdie time? Nope. Missed it slightly left, but at least ended the 9 on a high. (+11)

As we make the turn, my scorecard has 4 double bogeys against two pars, which wasn’t great. Except for the 2nd, all the doubles came from bad drives, which should be avoidable, but you know, it’s part of my game (or lack thereof).

Hole 10: This should be a visually appealing hole for me (one of the rare ones) as we look to shape this right to left. However I started all wrongly too far left and pulled deep into the woods. So deep that it crawled back out the adjacent hole fairway. A punched five iron actually was very good to around 10m from the green. This should technically be a routine chip but I fluffed it! Second chip got onboard and bogeyed but that fluff chip was so unexpected, after a series of very good chips in previous game. (+12)

Hole 11: This is to me the easiest hole, as all the trouble is right (which is hardly existent for me). A slightly pulled shot puts me around 90m from the green on the left on the fairway. A good sand wedge ended up pin high on the left which trickled down to around 6 feet from the cup. Birdie? YES, finally. (+11)

Hole 12: I don’t know how or why Hole 12 is Index 14. It’s notoriously difficult to hit the green because the elevated tee shot is so daunting. OB on right and jungle on left. I pulled again my drive and once more, like Hole 10, faced a tiny hole in the trees to hit out of. Managed to sneak it back to the fairway but almost 200m away to an extreme uphill green. My 5 wood left me around 50m. I was still ok to this point, because a 4 on will put me in position for a bogey. I didn’t hit a terrible shot, but the 60 degree just ballooned high, landed on the green and rolled back into the left “Valley of Death”, an enclave where a majority of the people hit from, judging by the divots existing there. I skulled my 5th chip over to the bunker, buried at the slope. Duffed my 6th, still in bunker. 7th out and holed for 8th. Horrible hole. Especially right after that birdie. (+14)

Hole 13: Finally striped a great tee shot and was left with around 120m to an uphill green. I opted for a 9-iron in, but did not hit a particulary good one. It drew too much and landed left, in a mini enclave, not as bad as Hole 12. With Hole 12 fiasco still fresh, I opted to put upwards from this valley though. It wasn’t a great result but still left me around 10 feet for par. Missed, settled for bogey (+15)

Hole 14: Love this little par 3. It’s the only par 3 on the course that you can hit with a wedge. Around 130 downhill, it was really between a muscled gap or an easy pitching. I don’t have any in between clubs. I chose the muscled gap. Because I like muscling things instead of controlling. The gap wedge hit perfect, landed just past the front bunkers but for some stupid reason didn’t release to the green. It was still an easy lag putt, and a par (+15)

Hole 15: Hate this (and the next) hole. Because water left. Index 2 and 6 side by side. These are named the Hateful Twins. I had to start my drive way right, and challenge the trees due to my retarded shot shape. Remember Hole 2 where I escaped a right block with a drive through the trees? The course takes back. Same shot, but instead now clips a branch and falls right down, before the ladies tee. A five iron sets me up to where everyone else is. Another five iron found me at the front rough of the green. A reasonable chip got me to around 5 feet and a double bogey. (+17)

Hole 16: The second of the Hateful Twins. Was switching back and forth between a five iron and the driver and just decided to heck it with the driver. It was a good choice, because, without any trees near the teebox, I managed to stripe this right to left with the best drive of the day. It left me around 100m and a sand wedge to the green. It was slightly pulled but no problem navigating for a par (+17). Not bad!

Hole 17: LOOOONG Par 3. My 5 iron was pulled slightly and ended up in the backside of the green. Not an easy shot. My second shot couldn’t clear the lip (inches away) and trickled back into the bunker, my third duffed and again rolled back into the bunker, and only 4th came out. Two putts and left with a bad tasting triple bogey (+20)

Hole 18: Feeling the pain, I pulled my final drive of the day. From the left rough, a tragic 7 iron did not draw and left me deep rough on the right. I couldn’t get any purchase on it, and my fourth shot from 90m with a gap was also duffed into the greenside bunker. Ironically, I used my gap and hit the best bunker shot of the day. a perfect shot clearing two bunkers and slipping into the green around 10 feet below the hole. I couldn’t end it with a bogey save though and settled for a double. (+22). I played +5 over my last two holes, which just about sums up my misadventures at Kota Permai.

So there you go. Plenty of doubles, plenty of triple and let’s see: hitting out of 6 different bunkers today. Not a great date with Sandy.

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Challenging Tropicana and an Interesting Hazard Drop

We haven’t played in Tropicana for some time, and from memory, it seems a reasonably easy course for us. After coming out of a sub-90 round in Palm and great driving, I was reasonable optimistic about this round.

Just a note, the fairways in Tropicana weren’t in their usual good conditions. Rain and maybe an iffy maintenance schedule has made it a bit soggy and damp – not terrible, but still, no the pristine fairways we are used to seeing on this course. The greens as well is being sanded, so you expect bumpy, unpredictable putts. But this is generally Ramadan Conditions – courses are taking this low traffic weeks to fix up their courses.

Hole 1: We started out in East Two (cross over to West Three). It’s a reasonable easy par 4, which I started badly pushing my drive right. Under trees, I only managed to chop a poor shot out. Then another poor chop to around 50m, and then a 60 degree in. Two putt for a double bogey to start. Ominous. (+2)

Hole 2: Beautiful par 4 with a downhill drive. Pushed again to the right! This time, I hit a reasonably good 6 iron to keep it under the trees but zipped over the green into the rough, slope behind. Chip! And a very poor one. It didn’t even reach the green. A putt to get on and 2 putts again to start double-double. (+4)

Hole 3: This time, striped a good one down the right side over the fairway bunker. With a pitching wedge, I managed to hit a stupid shot and missed the top tier of the green, leaving me a horribly long putt. Which I three putted. Again. Bogey. (+5)

Hole 4: Already fuming after the previous hole, this was the supposedly the easiest hole, a Par 3 that we ALWAYS hit short for some twillight zone reason. It states 125 from our tee, but everytime my pitching wedge is short. And yes, it was short again, leaving me a tricky turning putt from the fringe. First putt wasn’t great but my par putt brushed the hole, another missed par for bogey. Two 3 putts in a row. DAMNIT! (+6)

Hole 5: Par 5, played WAY back championship tees. I hit a pulled drive, but no harm. Second shot was a crap, stupid duffed 6-iron, leaving me a huge 220m away for my third. My 5 wood brought me to around 30m, and my 60 degree went over the flag, with a tricky 30 footer downhill putt. Which I probably will miss. Except, this time, I didn’t. It snaked down and horse-shoed into the hole for a saved PAR! (+6)

Hole 6: Feeling good, I promptly pushed my drive right again. Thankfully, found it but was way far away from the green on an index hole. A five wood brought me around 30m, a nonchalant chip left me too much to do and bogeyed. (+7)

Hole 7:This was BLASTED. The drive was long and found me around 140m from the green. I would usually smoke a 9 iron in but the flag was set right the front next to the pond, and I chickened out and used an 8-iron. Promptly flew over the flag to the top tier, leaving me an absolute horror putt to come down. 3 Putt bogey? OK, deserved that. I should have challenged the damn pin. (+8)

Hole 8: Long par 3. An iffy par 5 left me needing a chip onto the green. It’s an easy chip from the rough, but I duffed it again, and had to putt my 3rd on. Two putted again for a horrible double bogey. (+10) So I have duffed two of my chips, leaving me a double on each of these holes. Looks like bad habits coming back.

Hole 9: Par 5, which usually should be easy, but I pushed my drive way right to the other fairway (hole 1). A good recovery with a five wood actually found me on the rough at around 100m. I should hit the green with my eyes closed. Instead I missed it by duffing my sand wedge, skipped the bunker and the ball rested at an impossible angel, where I had to stand INSIDE the bunker and hit the ball at was at nearly my stomach height. It did find the green finally and two putted for another bogey. (+11)

A +11 isn’t great for what is supposed to be an easier course. But it was definitely due to just bad overall decisions and iffy chipping. 3 putts are also killing me.

Hole 10: Cross over, new 9, hopefully new game. Par 4, hit it well, almost into the fairway bunker on the right. The next shot was a straight 9 iron without any draw, which left me a chip away from the green. So I chipped and it zipped past the hole to around 10 feet. 2 putt bogey. (+12)

Hole 11: Finally, a hole that is played WELL. I cut this dogleg so much with a good drive that I was only around 100m away to a downhill green. I should have used my 60-degree but opted for my sand wedge instead. It shot over to around 20 feet from the hole. Two putted for a good par. Only my second one! (+12)

Hole 12: Par 3, sucker pin on the left next to the water. I drew a good six iron in, landed to the front and a very long putt. I lagged to around 6 feet or so and managed to finally sink it for par. (+12)

Hole 13: Just when you think everything is going well, I blocked my 6 iron next hole, hit the cart path and bounched happily to OB. Reloaded, and a 9-iron to the green for 4 on. Two putted for double. (+14)

Hole 14: This is an index 1 par 4 which I just wasted. I hit a good drive, but left with around 180 to the green, I hit a great 7-wood that was literally about 10 inches away from entering into the green. Instead from the front to the back pin, I three putted for an absolutely stupid bogey. (+15)

Hole 15: This is a bit contentious. I hooked my ball a bit and thought it was going into the water. It hit a palm tree and dropped into the flower bed lining the edge of the water. Now, flower beds are free drops in Tropicana (according to caddy, I guess). But unfortunately about 10 feet away from where I was was a red stake. And because there was a flowerbed, we couldn’t see markings of hazard, and the other red stake was far away. I wasn’t in between the red stakes, I thought. But if you draw an imaginary STRAIGHT line, my ball was probably resting on the imaginary line. However, the water edge wasn’t straight. So If you draw an imaginary line FOLLOWING the water edge, my ball wasn’t in the hazard. Or at least, depending on how thick this imaginary line is. So how? Hell I don’t know. We don’t have a rules official. The flower bed is a free drop. But was I in the hazard, based on the hazard line rule? Was there a line in the first place? None because of the flower bed. Usually we should have a line drawn, but in this case, there was none because I guess Tropicana loves its flowerbeds.

I would generally think this is fine and free drop, but because we were playing for money $$, I think it’s a little too liberal to just not penalise myself, so I had to interpret it as such: if in doubt, be conservative and penalise. Besides, my partners were all on the green and I didn’t want to call them back on a ruling. So I did penalise myself. I dropped for three, bashed my 8 iron near the green. Hit an ok chip over bunker to 4-on and two putted for double bogey. (+17)

Hole 16: Reachable par 5 and I hit a solid drive, followed with a good 5 wood, if a little pulled left. Now, I was around 30m away from the green, an easy 60 degree should do it. Instead I blasted it over to the top tier and with a fast roll down to the pin, I conjured an amazingly stupid 3 putt for bogey.  (+18)

Hole 17: Its so frustrating. You know you aren’t playing that badly but the scores are not reflecting it. So on a downhill par 3, I finally hit a great pitching in, almost slam dunked into the hole an rolled to around 10 feet away. It was now an extreme right to left slider, downhill. Not an easy one, but one that I somehow miraculously managed to navigate, fist pump – boom, a birdie. (+17)

Hole 18: All the adrenaline from the last hole gave me a lousy drive. Blocked on the left, my 5 wood almost landed into the water. Third shot 6-iron from the water edge went into the greenside bunker. Out was poor and from the front of the green, three-putted my final green for a double bogey. (+19)

Overall, the strange thing is that it wasn’t as if I played badly. Fine, the first two holes put me in a hole already, but again, I had 6 three putts. SIX! And I had a few bad chips that didn’t do me any favors. The putts is something I need to improve, 100%. If I can half my three putts to 2 or 3 per round, i gain 3 – 4 strokes, that means moving me to a 12 – 13 handicapper as opposed to the 15 – 16 I am playing now. The chips – people may look and say I am chipping like a tapir, but really, I’m happy with it. You must understand where I was a few weeks ago. I was completely UNABLE to chip. UNABLE. So now, I need to chip more during the game, get into the groove of chipping during play and I will be fine. Not worried about it. Worried about my putting.

As for the hole 15 rule, the closest I can get to is from here: http://www.barryrhodes.com/2013/05/water-hazard-margins.html.

Part of the Definition of Lateral Water Hazard states: When the margin of a lateral water hazard is defined by stakes, the stakes are inside the lateral water hazard, and the margin of the hazard is defined by the nearest outside points of the stakes at ground level.

This is a very interesting situation. Because where my ball landed, it was clearly UNCLEAR whether my ball was in the hazard or not. It was NOT PLAYABLE, correct, but because it was in a flower bed which is an immovable obstruction (according to caddy, and I did not check the scorecard). So imagine if the flower bed wasn’t there, where would the line be? The distance between the red stakes were far because of this flowerbed between them, so there was no clear line markings for hazard, neither was it easy to draw an imaginary line. So unfortunately, because it was really a 50-50 matter, I had to declare it on the conservative interpretation and declared  penalty drop. Incidentally, if I had bogeyed that hole instead of double bogey, my partnership would have won the hole, and won the game. Instead we lost. So that one stroke cost me my lunch…but I think it was the right thing to do, and like life, golf should be done in the most ethical way possible.

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