Kickstart 2019 Tropicana

So the new year kicks off with all the new equipments for 2019. Just a quick comparison with my last year.

 

 c          

Cobra Fly Z+ vs R11 Taylormade – No competition. The Cobra is several years ahead of the R11 and it shows. I wasn’t just bombing my drives today, but I felt very much in control, unlike the inconsistent display with the R11.

 

Titliest 910D 3 Wood vs Cobra LD 5 Wood – I never really had any 3 wood in my bag before and only had an old LD5 Wood. Again, with a 3 wood, the game changes – especially with this solid fella, which i managed to hit very good shots today

 

    

 

MP57 vs MP54 – This is probably the only one requiring work. The 57s are beautiful things, but I must say, very much different in terms of forgiveness – as in, it has very little margin of error. When I connect, it flies like a hot knife through butter, cutting through air. But when I mis-hit (on several occasions), it’s very tough to play. The 54s are a lot easier, but it doesn’t look that good!

 

 

Smart Square Cleveland vs Odyssey  DFX 5500 – I’ve been having a love hate relationship with my DFX for many years. Sometimes, its so good that the hole looks like the size of a basket ball hoop. Other times I can’t even hit those 3 foot putts. The inconsistency now makes me switch to the much larger, face balanced Smart Square – and it works. Awesome putting today, and the visual (two squares) gives me a lot of confidence.

So Away we teed up at West Course 3 and crossover to East Course 1.

Hole 1: Tee off into the woods on the left as was expecting a slice as experienced on the range. Nope. It was long and left for some reason. Managed to hit a pitching wedge out and flew the green, and left with a chip over bunker. Guess what? Yup, chipped into bunker. Solid Bunker out to around 6 feet and drained the putt with my new putter. The chipping skills cannot be bought though, damn it. (+1)

Hole 2: This is a really nice hole but OB right makes us go left, which I did, leaving me with a pitching wedge into a downhill green. I missed it slightly left, and had to chip it. It landed soft, to around 8 feet and I drained the putt. The putter is ON!! (+1)

Hole 3: Par 3 messed up. My irons flared right, and didn’t even come close to the green. My chipping wasn’t great and I still wasn’t on. From off the green, my putt almost holed and I sank the bogey from around 4 feet (+2)

Hole 4: Nice controlled hole which forced me to hit my hybrid, which veered left a little. From there, it was an easy enough 9 iron into a big green. Long lag putt wasn’t good and my par putt didnt drop. So a 3 putt bogey. (+3). Not an easy putt anyway, can’t fault the putter.

Hole 5: Not an easy hole, but a very good drive sorted it out. I hit a wonderful 7 iron flighted into the green, one of the times I caught the MP-57 perfect and saw what a great club it was in the hands of actual good players (not me). I had around 10 feet for birdie and literally burned the edge with my putt. Good par though. (+3)

Hole 6: Another drive bombed with a slight draw down the middle. This time, to around 110m, I shortchanged my gap wedge and ended up in the bunker. I like bunkers, and I blasted out, two putted for bogey (+4)

Hole 7: Uphill par 5 which another driver found me needing a 3 wood. The new 3 wood is AWESOME. I hit it so flush that it landed into the greenside bunker almost pin high. From there, blasted out of the sand to around 6 feet and somehow missed a very good opportunity for birdie-sandy. Settle for par (+4)

Hole 8:Just when you think we figured out, again, my 7 iron flared right. These MP-57s dont take kindly to off center hits like my 54s.From there, I found myself again in the bunker and again, hit it out to around 6 feet, and missed the very quick downhill putt. Bogey. (+5)

Hole 9: Great end to the 9 with a long par 5. I twacked my driver dead straight.  A 3 wood brought me to about 80m to the pin. I hit a ‘meh’ shot that found me on the left of the green, on a slope, with a water grating in front of my ball so I couldn’t putt. Instead, I had to chip – and for once, hit a great one, which trickled to about 3 feet and sank the par. (+5). Great 9! Away to East 1!

Hole 10: For once, a bad drive that flared right. Still found the ball nestled under the tree, and I thought an 8 should suffice. Instead I missed it badly and it still left me with a very difficult pitch to the green. Yes, I promptly pitched it into the greenside bunker. I blasted a good bunker shot out for 4-on but cannot do anything further from 10 feet. First double bogey of the day. (+7)

Hole 11: It’s a very nice narrow hole. I hit a great fade but it landed into the rough about 110m away. Once more, I mishit my irons badly and my pitching wedge just tricked forward and I had those tricky pitch/chip shots where for once I executed well, leaving me around 4-5 fee to sink the par putt, which I did. (+7)

Hole 12: Another par 3. And another monumental failure again. This time, my 6 iron semi hook got over the water, bounced promptly to the left and went back into the water again. I took a drop, chipped to about 15 feet and ended up double bogey. What’s up with my irons??! (+9)

Hole 13: Ah the great par 5, that just need a good drive first. I drove it well, although it did pop up a bit. From there, I duffed my 7 iron approach and it went only 20m in front. ME-57s are hard to hit, man! From there, my 6 iron found the bunker. A great bunker shot still left me around 15 feet to manuever down hill. I hit it slightly hard, but it hit the hole and rested a few inches from it. Good for bogey (+10)

Hole 14: This is a low index hole because the tee off is guarded by bunkers on left and water on right. I managed to sliver my shot into the middle of the fairway- once again the Cobra Flyz+ proving awesome value for money. However, I pulled my PW slightl and yes —into the bunker, my favourite. A good out, but caught the hill and rolled down to 10 feet. Missed putt, but pretty good bogey. (+11)

Hole 15: This is supposedly an easy par 5 if you have a good tee off. I had a good one, but it landed right in the middle of a huge divot in the rough. It was so unlucky! I could’t get the buried ball with my hybrid properly and it went around 20-30m ahead. Now  have the 3 wood. I also missed it due to the extreme slope I was hitting on. From there, a 6 iron found me off the fairway slightly. My chip was almost good but short a bit. 2 putt for double. (+13).

Hole 16: This is one of the holes I didnt catch properly my driver. Yet, so forgiving was it, it still flew and rolled a good distance. It left me around 140m to the green. Once more, the MP-57 was tough to hit. My 8-iron was short and left. Chip on wasn’t superb and had to two putt for bogey. (+14)

Hole 17: Easy par 3 and this time I made sure I stayed through the ball. 7 iron found the green and two putted for par (+14)

Hole 18: Final hole requires some finesse — not. Once more, the Cobra came out and the drive was good and long – so good I only was left with a gap wedge distance. I launched the approach to the right a bit and landed softly, trickling down to around 6 feet of the hole. Birdie to end the first game of the year? You bet. BIRD IT! (+13)

Kota Permai Up and Down

Golf had been pretty solid for the past couple of months  but as witnessed in the last game at Palm Garden, I went into a shanking mode and I’ve been trying to shake off ever since. In fact, I played a 9 hole at KGPA in between that game and this with another beginner and I was like a hacker, because I was shanking it all over the place. I think I shot 51 or 52 which obviously doesn’t bode well.

I am trying to adjust a few things to prevent the shanks, but we’ll see if this works out on the course – Kota Permai! Despite the rain the day before, Kota Permai really looked good and the greens were in great condition.

Hole 1:  Inviting par 5, but I blasted my driver straight right into bunker. In the fairway bunker, I unluckily ended up right inside the rake line so it was embedded a bit. Managed to blast out a 9 iron but it clipped the last branch of the tree into the woods. A punch out and my 4th shot was short. From off the green I opted to putt, but hit it way too long and two putted for double bogey. (+2). I don’t think anything was at fault here, it was simply bad luck and maybe my first putt needed to be adjusted.

Hole 2: Tough hole usually, with narrow fairway. I managed to get my hook onto the fairway, and had a 9 iron in. Because of my shanks, my adjustment made my irons fly a bit shorter and almost got wet. As it was, I was off the green and my putt was short. Surprisingly, I managed to get my remaining 5 footer into the hole for par. (+2)

Hole 3: Another tough hole, but a good drive made things a lot easier and I basically had another 9 iron into the green. This time, managed to get on in regulation. But again, my first putt was short and left me with a similar distance as in the previous hole. Will it go? Yes! Another par! (+2)

Hole 4: The par 3 with water right. This time, instead of 5 iron, I opted to muscle in a 6 iron. It hooked slightly so I had a putt off the green. Learning from hole 1, I managed to hit a much better putt, but had a knee knocker 3 footer downhill left – which I hit, for escalation 3 pars in a row. (+2)

Hole 5: I was slightly feeling it now, with my putter on fire. But this drive, I popped it up and it got hung in the rough – a poor short drive, but thankfully on a relative short Par 4. I still had to hit either an 8 or 7 iron in. I opted for the latter but it flew right to the back of the green, about 40 feet away from the front pin. My lag putt was …. bad. I overshot the hole and had around an 8 footer back.

Amazingly, my putt hit the back of the cup and popped in for 4 in a row. Even I was surprised. (+2)

Hole 6: After we were forced to stop by the wonderful flights who stop to eat their breakfast at this dratted hut, I had a 5 iron to coax into this tough par 3. And I completely duffed it. I wish I could blame the idiots in front who had to stop and fill their bellies and spoiling my mojo. But the fact was, I just had a bad swing and the ball plopped into water. Reteed-and this time found the bunker. From the bunker, hit the 4th shot out, and two putted for a seriously momentum destroying triple bogey. (+5)

Irons=-1

Hole 7: Struggling to shake off the triple, I actually hit a solid drive on this Par 5. But like Hole 1, it got caught into the fairway bunker on the right. Like Hole 1, I was unluckily stuck right at the side and could only coax a 9 iron out. I still could regulation on actually as I had a 130m or more to the green. I shortsighted myself with a pitching wedge (instead of 9) and landed short. Too much grass here to work with (or so I thought), and I decided to chip for my 4th.

Bad decision because my chip is $hit. Total, crap sh#t. I skulled the ball and it skittered into the bunker. From the bunker, I hit a very poor shot due to the water if I overshot the green, and left it in the bunker again. My 5th shot barely got out. My 6th putt, because I had to charge to at least have a chance to tie with my opponent’s team went too far downhill and my come back never stood a chance. Great. Triple bogey. (+8). So after four pars in a row, I had to go spoil the game with two triples back to back.

Chipping = -1

Hole 8: This index hole 1 is long, but it’s not overly complex. I did hit my drive long, but it drew too much. Flew the bunker and I had a pitching wedge I had to carve around the trees. Curled too much and now I had the option to putt or chip off the green. Opted for the chip, but again, fell too short and did not hit the 8 footer to the cup. My first bogey of the day, not bad. (+9)

Hole 9: My drive here to this uphill green actually left me in a reasonable position just short of the bunker on the left, but with an extreme uphill to go. My 6 iron….shanked. Yup. Finally did it and got it out of my system. Thankfully the ball hits a small tree and fell back into the bunker about 30 meters from the green. The dreaded 30 meter bunker shot, which I hit a pretty good out with my gap. I had around 15 feet to navigate for sandy par, but missed. Considering I shanked the crap out of the ball, bogey is a hell of a score. (+10)

For a while, midway through the first 9, I was thinking of really going low. 2 triple laters, due to branfarts on my irons and chipping – and it’s over.

Hole 10: Crossing over to this shady par 4 dog leg left, I cut the dogleg too much and now it’s in the jungle left. My punch out wasn’t great but it was just enough for me to use my 9 iron with a little draw to the green – which was executed perfectly. Pin high, around 10 feet from the hole. Unfortunately I missed it my inches but tapped in for bogey. (+11). Its not a bad hole for recovery.

Hole 11: Blasted this relatively easy par 4 and had only 90 meters left to the green. I hit a poor 60 degree that flew to the back of the green and nestled in the rough. A 60 degree chip shot almost holed it and tapped in for par. (+11)

Hole 12: This par 5 makes me think whoever decided this monster is Index 14 probably made the decision when he or she was drunk or smoking weed. Excuse me? Thick trees and rough on the left, OB on the right, with a sliver of fairway snaking up to an uphill green with a notoriously difficult undulation? Index 14? Hello? On cue, I smashed my driver into the left trees where I can probably take up permanent residence based on the time I visit there. I chunked my punch out (2nd shot) which wasn’t great, and my next punch with a 6 iron from the rough found me around 140m to an uphill green. I used my pitching for my 4th and flew it in. It landed on the green, yes, but due to the severe undulation feeding everything into this deep valley on the left, it promptly rolled off the green. Instead of chipping, I opted to putt my 5th shot onto the green which turned out to be a smart decision and had a 8 footer uphill to save my bogey. (+12)

Hole 13: I whacked my driver but again, like so often today, did not have enough turn in it so it landed into the rough on the right after the buggy track. With no option, I had to carved a punch with my 6 iron to a uphill green about 120m away. It was hit well but still found the bunker on right. 3rd shot was one of the best bunker shot I’ve done, with the lovely “thud” sound of the sand. I still had around a 6 footer to navigate for my Sandy Par, and I did it to a fist pump. (+12)

Hole 14: Fresh from a great par save, I hit my pitching wedge slightly thin on this downhill par 3. It did find the back of the green  with a long lag putt. With my putter on fire, I two putted this hole to maintain a chance for possible esclation again. (+12)

Hole 15: Completely pummelled this ball – perfect right to left and on the fairway.  I still had around 160m to go for this difficult par 4. However, that shank back in 9 was playing in my head and got me so confused, I was like a hippo attempting to do yoga by the time I was addressing and adjusted, and I did not shank — instead I pushed it way left, hit a tree and dropped down around 60m in front. Again, like hole 12, my 3rd shot sandwedge actually reached the green but due to the undulation, it happily spun off into the rough. Unbelievable. From there, I hit a poor chip. With a 12 footer uphill putt, my bogey burned the edge and settled in for double. (+14).

Wedges = -1

Hole 16: In this narrow par 4 (second of the Evil Twins on this course) – I opted a good 5 wood. From there, I only had about 130m to go. I hit my pitching wedge but pulled it (again thinking of shank)into the bunker. While I had been playing great bunker shots, this time, I caught it thin and it flew over the green. 4th shot in wasn’t great and two putted for double. Damn!!! (+16)

Sand = -1

Hole 17: I was very frustrated by now. The last two holes were completely and utterly unnecessary doubles. I could have easily bogeyed them instead. This long par 3 required my 5-iron which wasn’t so bad but it went way too far and had a tricky putt downhill. Too tricky as I ended up 3 putting this damn hole for bogey after regulation on. (+17)

Putter=-1

Hole 18: Hopefully the final hole have reprieve – but no, dragged my driver left into the bunker (again). I did execute a great 6 iron from the bunker to put me around 150m to an uphill green. I opted for a 6-iron, chunked it a bit but it was on the fringe, around 40 -50 feet away from a back pin. From there, I finally did a great lag putt right to about a foot or so and it was super good feeling to tap in for par for the last hole.

Conclusion: Overall, scoring 89 is ok for Kota permai and my putter was really on fire today – more than other clubs. My chipping is still taking a vacation while my super driving habit in October has pretty much reverted back to its erratic self. Looking back, if I didn’t screw up those triple bogeys and double on the back nine, I could realistically shave off around 3 strokes from it. But no complaints. Great round of golf and great weather too!

Palm Garden Scoring

I’ve played Palm Garden 4 times this year and had a 95-92-88-96 scoring on it. For some reason, a course which should be easy (hardly any water), which I should be eating breakfast out of, turns into a high scoring affair everytime I set foot on it. A few things come to mind – the greens and fairways are undulating and not easy. The par 3s have two easy ones, but two incredibly difficult ones. The par 5s are almost not possible to be reached in two. But basically I just need to freaking play better.

Hole 1: I’ve been driving like an automaton lately and today started off with a bang. Cut the dogleg too much though, and ended up on the rough. No matter, an easy 9-iron took me to the green, if not a bit too far. A downhill putt which I completely misread, and left me with a par putt of around 10 feet, which I missed. 3-putt to start the day? OK. (+1)

Hole 2: Easy par 3 that I shorted with a gap wedge. Time to see how this chip is doing. I hit an ok one actually, which is surprising but still had to navigate around 6 feet for a par which i did. Wow! Didn’t expect my short game to save me! (+1)

Hole 3: Good broad fairway which I just pummeled my drive into. From there, I had an easy 9 iron again to the back portion of the green, which I put on around 20 feet away. But again, my putter was crap shit, and my birdie putt came up way short. Palm garden was playing very SLOW today, unlike the previous time. My par putt pulled and again, a 3 putt despite regulation-on. I hope this isn’t going to become a trend. (+2)

Hole 4: Really one of my favourite holes in the course. This is a par 5 which drops down to a semi island green which requires some precise shot into it. I’ve birdied this par 5 a few times and today went flag hunting again. Long drive straight down the barrel, another pitching wedge to take me to around 100m and from there, a lob wedge to a front sucker pin, to around 2 feet for a kick in birdie. Easiest one ever! (+1)

Hole 5: Back to back par 5s here. I hit another straight drive (my driver was seriously in automated mode), and then a little pulled five wood took me to around 100m away to a green which I put on with a sandwedge. From there 2 putted for a par. (+1) At this point, I was thinking if I putted well during my hole 1 and 3, I would have been one under over 5 holes! Could be staring at a sub 80 round here!

Hole 6: This is just a tough par 4 but not impossible. A good drive found the rough on the right, and I just dead pulled my hybrid (I hate this hybrid) into the bunker on the left. My out wasn’t superb and that just left me with too long a putt for par. Bogey and momentum lost. (+2)

Woods/Hybrid = -1

Hole 7: If anyone asks which is the toughest hole in the course? I would say this stupid par 3. It is LONG. It needed my 5 wood, so we are staring at an uphill 190-200 metres with a difficult green protected by bunkers and undulation. On cue, I pulled left and from there, buried under a tree, I just have to chop out, and put it into bunker. Out, missed my bogey and settled for my first double bogey of the day. Stupid 5 wood and stupid hybrid! (+4)

Woods/Hybrid: -2

Hole 8: The final two holes are really scoring holes for me, especially if the driver is behaving. And it was certainly behaving today. Drove a straight one cutting the dogleg to around 80m from the green but in a not so great lie in the rough, and mud. I managed to carve in a lob wedge to the top of the green but had a very tricky downhill. My putt was ok, wasn’t good, but managed to coax in a par. (+4)

Hole 9: This was the probably the first time I had a perfect driving 9 holes in my life. This drive was crushed right down the fairway and left me again with a lob wedge into a dangerous green. Behind the green (where my playing partner ended up) was no-man’s land, a practice green and a hill back up. Lob wedge safely on the green, two putted for a par. (+4) At +4, I was probably on track to break 80 but I would need to play a heck of a back 9.

Hole 10: Another good drive straight down the fairway. Here’s where I probably made my mistake. Instead of gunning it with a wood or at least a long iron to this massive par 5, I layed up with a 9 iron thinking it might give me a lob wedge in. I short-changed it and had a 130m uphill approach. Again, mistake with a pitching instead of a 9 and fell woefully short. Chip wasn’t great and left with too much to do. Bogey. (+5) Can’t fault my chipping though, it was really a mental breakdown here more than anything.

Hole 11: Great hole with danger on the left which I avoided with a perfect 5 wood. I was left with only a pitching wedge into the green and looked to get back on track from the previous hole’s brain fart. And then it happened.

It doesn’t happen often but when it does, it is disastrous.

The SHANK.

I shanked the shit out of my pitching. It came out of nowhere, literally. My irons the whole of the 10 holes previous were dialed in, target hunting precision and just crisp and clear pounding off the turf. Suddenly, the shank just changed everything. It landed in the trees at the right, I punched out and still could do a 4-on to escape disaster. With a lob wedge, it happened again.

The SHANK.

This time into the water. At this point, it wasn’t just bye-bye sub 80 round. It could be bye bye game, because I had no idea what was causing it. I stood there for a full half minute wondering what the f- just happened. I mean if I was playing like a monkey I would feel this is just a product of that monkey business. Instead I was playing probably the best golf I had played this whole year. So where in cold hell did this shanking nonsense come from???!

Since we were playing team against team, I declared myself out of the hole and stopped playing and went back to the buggy to try to sort out this swing. So I don’t have a number here but as a rule, all blow holes will be marked as quadruple, so I marked it. (+9)

Irons = -1

Hole 12: I was obviously in a shocked state by now and this easy par 3 should be there for the taking. Instead on the tee with a pitching wedge, I shanked it again. This time it wasn’t so bad and I could still recover, but my confidence throughout the game had taken a huge beating and I knew I was in deep shit to complete this game with a reasonable score. You can’t fix a shank. You can only compensate for it. Managed to chip on, and two putted for a bogey. (+10). If I could just bogey all the way, I would be pretty satisfied now.

Hole 13: Tough Par 5 with trouble everywhere. At least my driver was still working despite my shanking problems. Bombed it down the fairway and now I had a dreaded iron coming up. With a 9-iron, I adjusted my stance drastically, putting my right foot a full one feet back compared to my left. This funny stance will force me to swing inside out at a drastic plane, hopefully eliminating my shank (which came from me swinging over the top and coming in steep outside in), but will be problematic due to it making my draw and hooks even worse. For now, it sort of worked, because I managed to hit it (although it still had the dreaded shank sound – “thak!” of ball hitting the hosel. With a 52 degree into the green, I did the same swing, and landed just before the green. It was not a great chip for 4-on as it overshot the hole by around 15 feet. But finally, one putt did drop as this one snaked in for an extremely unlikely par. (+10)

Hole 14: Again, with the same method, I eliminated my shank, but my draw was pretty extreme into this par 3. I’ve already compensated for it and this time it worked out well. It ended up on the green and managed to two putt for another par. With the way I’m playing, pars are like birdies for me. (+10)

Hole 15: Great drive smack in the middle. With water on the right, I had to play safe a bit with the layup and hit a conservative 9-iron and had maybe 120 or so left to the green. My shank seems to be resolved now, but the problem was I wasn’t hitting my irons so crisply and this new stance had me fighting a hook everytime. My pitching wedge worked well here but didn’t hook back so left me on the green with some real estate to maneuver. I thankfully did and ended up with another par. That’s 3 in a row and momentum regained! (+10)

Hole 16: This relatively short part 4 hole always turns difficult when you cranked your drive thinking you can reach the green. I hit a reasonable drive that ended up a few feet from the bunker on the right and leaving me around 70m downhill to front pin. My pitch came up short and I was maybe a few metres from the green. Usually I would opt to putt but given that I am supposed to practice my chipping, I opted to chip. And clunked it. It barely made the green and a stupid 2 putt later for a bogey. (+11)

Chip: -1

Hole 17: The par 3 downhill with trouble on the left. I knew I was hooking/over-drawing my irons due to my stance set up to fight the shank. So I aimed right for this but apparently not enough. I overhooked it and thought it was wet. Later, found the ball literally perched on the edge of the water and managed to pitch it on the green and two putted for bogey. Lucky!! (+12)

Irons=-2

Hole 18: This final hole is just a great hole to end. I blasted my drive straight down the fairway and for once did something I don’t think I’ve ever done before: Have a perfect driving day. As in literally I did not have one single bad drive for the whole 18. I now found myself around 110m from the green and used my gap wedge. This is my bread and butter. But like the previous hole, due to my extremely closed stance, I hooked it into the greenside bunker! Frustrated, I hit another ball exactly the same spot, but with my normal stance. Stuffed it to one feet from the hole, for a kickin mulligan birdie (if that was my actual ball in play)…I realise it’s bad etiquette to play two balls but we didn’t have anyone behind and maybe the ball in the bunker rolled into water? Who’s to say?

From the bunker, I was dead. The ball was in the bunker yes, but against the grass ledge so I couldn’t take any sand from under the ball. I topped it, and only then 4 out of bunker, missed my bogey and ended up with an extremely disappointing double bogey. (+14)

Irons=-3

Conclusion: What could have been? If I wasn’t compensating for my shank I would probably play the last hole or even 17th a lot better. A swing on the 18th between a double to a birdie is 3 strokes so I could have shaved that off. If I putted better, I could shaved 2 strokes on front 9 if I hit those regulation par putts. If I’ve not shanked the crap out of 11th hole, instead of a quadruple, I could end with a bogey , that’s another 3 strokes. If I chipped better on the 16th, there is another stroke there to be saved. So overall, I could have easily done 9 strokes less. From 86, I could have turned it into a 77. Why oh why the shanks?!?!

Tackling Glenmarie Valley

So Tiger screwed up at the Ryder cup. Big deal. He has already come back from the dead and won the penultimate tournament against 30 of the best players in the world. He doesn’t have anything to prove now, but to shut down for the season and wait for the next. Will be a fun season next year!

This week, we went over to Glenmarie, and wanted to play the Valley. We paid everything and was on the way there, but the caddy kept telling us to go to Gardens. We said, heck no, we want valley. So on the way there, he stopped a marshal and the marshal said, “Oh! MANY FLIGHTS at the Valley!! ALL JAM UP!! Go GARDENS LAH!”

I found it very strange that they were so pushy on this, and based on our experience of the marshals and caddies in Glemarie (they are utter rubbish), I told my group, well, no harm to go and check. So we did.

Guess what?

Empty.

Glenmarie – if you want to push traffic over to Garden for whatever nonsensical reason, just be upfront and not resort to lying about it. The stupid marshal sheepishly drove back to us to ask for our payment chit and then drove off. So, not a good start.

Glenmarie after thunderstorm the previous night wasn’t great. Valley especially had very bad fairways and the greens weren’t much to shout at. I guess in some ways, they knew Valley wasn’t up to par in terms of maintenance and wanted to minimise foot traffic there. We don’t know, we don’t care.

Hole 1: It is a very difficult hole to start, especially in the morning. This requires a drive over the water, with hazard on the right. I hit my drive left, but it came down to rest at the rough next to the buggy track. From there, I was around 150-160 away and I took my 6-iron (mistake) and just drove a low ball to the greenside bunker. Or so I thought. It nestled into the dreaded rough behind the bunker, leaving me with the terrible flop shot over bunker to begin with. On cue, I nicely flopped my ball into the bunker. Out in 4, 2 putt for a poor double bogey to start. (+2).

  1. Chip (-1)

Hole 2: The valley opens up to easier holes after the opening. This easy par 5 has long been a favourite of mine but again, I pulled my shot left and found myself under the trees. I lofted my 9-iron out but it was at the edge of these annoying bushes, where I couldn’t play a full shot. So I choked down my 9-iron from around 120m and punched it to the front. Opting to putt (good choice), I then sank in a 4 – 5 footer for a par. Good! (+2)

Hole 3: A great hole. For all the shitty maintenance on the valley, the setup is really nice, and that’s why we like it. From the tee you have a good view of the hole, and a wide fairway guarded by bunkers. I whacked my tee shot finally, a good one – to right behind the bunker and had around 100m. I lofted my sand wedge on the green, routine two putt for par. Very Good! (+2)

Hole 4: A Par 3, around 145m. The caddy told me 140m because of the red pin, but it was uphill. So I was between a 9-iron or 8-iron. I chose poorly. My 9-iron never had a chance to reach the green, leaving me with a chip (which I clunked), and then a sheepish putt to put on and bogeyed. What a waste of Escalation. (+3)

2. Chip (-2)

Hole 5: I dread this one and the other one (17), because they have two similar tee offs: trees on the right next to tee box and no-man’s land on the left in the trees. Because I hook/draw so much, I had to set up right at the edge of the tee box, and aim at the right trees to draw it back. This retarded set up served me no favours as I boomeranged the ball right to left into the jungle. From there, a punch out was lucky as it hit the cart path. Then I had a downhill shot into a green which you CANNOT AFFORD to go long. So, from almost 140m, I played a pitching wedge to the front of the green. Again, my chip was horrendous, as I chunked it on, but too far away. Two putted for a bogey. (+4)

3. Chip (-3)

Hole 6: Frustrated over the constant missed chances, I hammered my drive on this index 3 Par 4 and only had, I think an easy nine iron from the left rough. I did set up to aim a little right to compensate the rough catching and turning; but Glenmarie rough (I learnt later) works differently. It doesn’t catch. And my ball happily flew to the rough on the right of the green. OK, this bloody chip better work. Yes, this time, there was contact and it wasn’t a CHUNK but there was too much juice and it skittered way beyond the hole. Two putt back for bogey. (+5)

4. Chip (-4)

Hole 7: This is a very nice hole, where it bends right and falls into the water. From the tee, I just hit a 5-iron right down the fairway and had around 140m to a slightly uphill green. Because anything short funnels down the water, most players like yours truly go longer, to compensate for any duffed shot. Instead of a 9-iron which I think I can hit, I used an 8-iron and hit a super crisp shot that flew right to the back of the bloody green. Again, chipping. And again, a bad chip ended up around 15 feet from the hole. So stupid. Two putt, BOGEY. (+6)

5. Chip (-5)

Hole 8: This is the monster par 3 (Most par 3s in Glenmarie are difficult, on Valley, except for the first one.) This one needs around 180 to hit the green. Instead of opting my trusty 5 iron I decided to use my stupid untrustworthy hybrid (the only time I am using it today). It hooked into the trees on the left. Luckily it was in a clearing, but unluckily it was buried deep. I could only chop it out to the other side of the green and from there a poor chip came up short, two putted for double. I think the chip here can’t be blamed so much, it was more of the tee-off. (+8)

6. Hybrid(-1)

Hole 9: What an ending hole to the 9. This is why we like Valley. This one is a bomber’s favourite, where the elevated tee box can see the entire hill on this hole. And bombed it I did. This was even a better drive than the one I pulled off at 6. This was so long, it left me contemplating a 52 or sandwedge into an uphill green with a back pin. I opted a 52 Gap, and landed me around 15 feet from the hole. I missed my birdie but tapped in for par. (+8)

At this point, a +8 isn’t so bad. But it’s very frustrating to know that I could have easily been 2- 3 shots better if not for my stupid chip. Hole 4 and 5 were gimme chips. While the rest, OK, if I could just be better on the back 9.

Hole 10: Hammered the drive down the fairway again, leaving me with what I assumed was an easy pitching wedge from 130m to the front pin. It landed slightly short, but very puttable. For some unknown retarded reason, I over-putted and missed the come back par putt of around 5 feet. WHY?! STUPID, UNNECESSARY BOGEY LAH! (+9)

7. Putt (-1)

Hole 11: For once my drive failed me and swung me into the trees on the left. This hole is dangerous because of the water behind the green. I punched out my 8-iron, then hit my third shot to somewhere on the right of the green and two putted for a listless bogey. My opponent in the other sixer has stuffed his 2nd shot to 1 feet of the hole. (+10)

8. Drive (-1)

Hole 12: This is such a tough par 3. It is listed as 205m and all of us have our 5-wood or 3-wood out. One guy had a driver. I hit a great, non-hooked, straight up bad ass 5-wood that perched nicely on the green. From there, it was still a tough putt across a few mountains in the green, but managed to navigate it for a two putt par. Yay! (+10)

Hole 13: Another tough tough par 4 for a hooker, due to all the trouble on the left. Hole 5, Hole 13 and Hole 17 – these are the hated trio of Glenmarie. But unlike Hole 5, this time I managed to hit a straight shot but hung up on the right. Still fine. Little on the rough. My second shot was supposedly an easy 8-iron to a downhill green. Instead, I semi-shanked, whiffed it and for once, I saw my ball slice to the right. Still ok, except … yup, chipping. By now, my chipping stance was resembling a gorilla attempting to thread a needle through a quilt. And once more, nothing. Duffed the damn ball. From the fringe, slammed my fourth shot chip over the hole and meandered a two putt for a double bogey. Again, it’s so unnecessary. This time, I blame my irons, my chip. (+12)

9. Irons (-1)

Chip (-6)

Hole 14: Scampering away from that hole we are in one of the most scenic holes on the course, the island par 5. Uphill tee off with a 5-wood took me to the fairway, an easy 8-iron left me around 120m and from there an easy pitching wedge to the green, around 20 feet away for safety, and a routine two putt for par. If ever I had a perfect hole on how to play golf, this would be it. (+12)

Hole 15: The water par 3 which everyone hates. I have to admit, mostly I chicken out. I aimed my 7-iron way right away from the hole and it landed chipping distance from the green. I did not duff my chip but I overpowered it and it went to the other side of the hole. From there, two putted for bogey (+13). The guy who stuffed his birdie with an iron to within 2 feet earlier? He bombed his birdie putt from 40 feet away this time. Luckily he is now partnering me!

Hole 16: This is a nice looking hole but all the slicers hate the large body of water on the right. For me, I just bombed the drive to the left, and from the fairway, pushed my pitching wedge slightly to the right. Thankfully it held on to the edge of the green and from there, it was just a two putt par. (+13)

Hole 17: Ah, the last of the terrible three. This time, I managed to avoid the trees on the right and hit it so long that it was around 140m to the green. Mind you this is a 380m par 4. Because of the severe downhill and the punishment of water for over hit approach, I opted for a chicken pitching wedge which got me to the green but very far away, around 40 feet or so. I don’t know why, but I rammed my first putt way past and still had 8 feet to putt back up the hill to save par. Nope. Three putted for bogey. (+14)

Putt (-2)

Hole 18: The final par 5 hole is a fitting end, although not as grand as the front 9 end hole. I bludgeoned this one right down the fairway. From there, i carved out my 5 wood but it landed into the final fairway bunker, around 50 meters from the green. This meant with two shots, I covered around 430m of real estate. Not to say anything but I am really loving my driver right now. And hating my chips. However, my bunker out was poor and from there, I hit a half hearted, chip/flop (I don’t know anymore how to describe these) to the center of the green and two putted (almost sank the par putt) for an ending bogey. (+15).

So if you look at it, technically, my putts weren’t that bad. Of course, it could have saved me two strokes on 17th and 10th, but otherwise it behaved. Not great but not bad. Driver was on almost the whole game, except for hole 1 and 2. Irons were reasonably great, except for the few times it got tricked by the rough — scoring 87 on Valley where it could have easily been 3- 4 strokes better is a very good day for me.

What about the Chips? Chipping is like the employee in the whole company that does shit and drags everyone down. Driver, gone to work, yeah. Putter, you ok, meeting numbers? Ok, no problem, keep it up. Irons, you guys working ok—no issue, ok? Chipping?

Chipping?

Chipping, WTF are you doing in the bloody pantry eating donuts while the others are out busting their ass for the company?!?!

The Return of the King and Golf

I took a short hiatus from golf for a few weeks, but after watching the heroics of Tiger Woods winning the Tour Championship in East Lake, I just had to strap up the golf bag to go for an 18 at Tropicana. This time, we tackled East Two and West Three. Traditionally, Tropicana set up hasn’t been very favourable to my game – it doesn’t make sense. It’s not a long course. It doesn’t have many water hazard, except in West Three, the back to back index holes have trouble on the left. And the greens aren’t devilishly difficult as well.

So why can’t I score??! The last two games I played in Trops, we had some drama on the drop (one was the hazard stakes and one was the identification of ball) – I played +22 and +19, hardly scores that elicit any excitement. But maybe today, I can get back some change from this course.

Aside from going hole by hole, I will also dissect my shots to see which one was the one costing the hole. (Chip, Putt, Drive, Irons)

East Two

Hole 1: Started with a good drive that hugged the right side of the fairway and falling around 140m from the green. Switching between an 8 or 9, I opted a 9 and again hit a straight shot – I’ve been compensating for my draw- and landed in the bunker. A good out, and missed the very makeable 5 footer coming back. Greens are fast! (+1).

1. Putt (-1)

Hole 2: Bashed my drive straight again, and once more I was aiming right to draw back. It went so far that I found some clearing under the trees on the right but had to design a punch shot with my 7-iron. Miraculously it cleared the trees, landed to the front of the green and rolled all the way to the back pin, about 10 feet. Probably the best rescue shot I made this year. Unfortunately due to my greed and the fact that our partnership had won, I charged my birdie — too much and missed the come back. 3 Putt from 10 feet!? (+2)

2. Putt (-2)

Hole 3: Drove straight and ended up before bunker on the right rough. It was definitely an easy shot, and I was just looking at a 9 iron to around 140 or so. No issue…except when I came down, I shanked the sh*t out of it. I nearly killed a person on the other hole. After apologising, I managed to get my 60 degree to the fringe, and from there navigated for a bogey. (+3)

3. Irons (-1)

Hole 4: This is par 3 where everyone stops to eat at the extremely expensive but absolutely health-destroyingly delicious Indian Food at the best halfway hut in the world. After gobbling down a small meehon, with just mutton and squid, and paying RM20 over for it (yes, it’s a ripoff and crazy expensive, but it taste so good!), I promptly muscled my PW to the front of the green from 140m. From there two putted for first par. Yaay! (+3)

Hole 5: Great par 5, really like this. I blasted my ball down the slope to where I could potentially reach the green. I only had my 5 wood but managed to get it to just behind the greenside bunker for an awkward chip/flopshop. Managed to do a reasonable chip and had around 20 feet left, which I navigated for Par. (+3)

Hole 6: Chasing an escalation, I hit probably my second best drive of the day. Driving was just absolutely great the first few holes. But this was an index 1 beast, and even after the drive, I had a 170m climbing to an uphill green. My 5 iron was perfect but it fell slightly short, landed just before the green. Previously I would just putt it and get a par, but I thought I was good at chipping – only to find out I was crap shit. Duffed my chip and two putted for a very disappointing bogey and missed escalation (+4)

4. Chip (-1)

Hole 7: We switched partners here and while waiting for the flight in front, I took a look at my partner’s Grenade 2 from Bombtech. You can read about it https://www.independentgolfreviews.com/bombtech-grenade-2-driver.html

Its like a non big name driver that supposedly was tested in a wind tunnel. I just like it because it has the same vomit green at the bottom as my favourite guitar effects ever – the legendary Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer. I tested by doing a fair bit of swings with it and it was great balance but very much heavier than my commercialised TM RS-11.

So right after that, I took up my own driver and — until now, I was driving like a king — on this drive, completely whiffed the ball to somewhere before the ladies tee. I have not whiffed a ball in years and I cannot explain it. As a test, I took the Bombtech driver and just bombed it down the fairway long and straight. It might be two things: a) I’ve reverted to a retarded warthog in my driving or b) I was adjusting too quickly from the significantly heavier driver to my lighter one and just swung out.

Second shot, hit a reasonable hybrid from the rough but didn’t turn so I ended up on the slope behind a few coconut trees but with a nice angle to the green. I hit a good one, but mother of all unluckiness hit the thin coconut trunk around 10 feet in front of me and bounced back. 4th shot into the bunker. 5th out to mediocre distance and two putt for a TRIPLE! Stupid Bombtech driver. (+7)

4. Drive (-1)

Hole 8: Trying to shake off the shocking hole was tough and for this par 3, I hooked my hybrid into the bunker on the left. The bunker lie was great, and I had plenty of green to deal with but in my mind, I wanted to catch the ball lightly and get it to the back portion beyond the flag as I saw a slope funneling downwards back to the pin. I imagined in my mind, I would catch it, and it would fly and hit the slope and come back down into the hole.

It’s very rare (as rare as spotting an armadillo smoking a cigar) that I can pull off EXACTLY the shot that I envisioned in my mind’s eye. Firstly, I am not very skilled, so to get it out of the bunker and get it to the slope is probably a 1 in 1,00,000 chance. Except. That It happened. I hit exactly the shot I wanted, it went exactly to the spot I needed it to be and it rolled down exactly as the way I hope it would – leaving me with a downhill putt of 4 feet, which I dispatched with glee. Super Par! (+7)

Hole 9: Drove well, and actually had a good chance to reach the green with my 5-wood. However, I topped the damn ball but it still rolled to around 100m. My sandwedge pulled slightly but I still had a routing putt from the fringe to the hole for par. (+7)

Hole 10: So we crossed over the West 3 and I hit a good drive but got hung on the right and landed on the rough. I should be able to hit this 150m green pretty easy, but I underestimated the slope and rough and chunked my 8-iron to behind the greenside bunker. Chip again! And foul up again. It clunked into the bunker in front of me. Fourth shot out and two putted the dang hole for double bogey. (+9)

5. Chip (-2)

Hole 11: I like this blind dogleg right hole. It’s very scenic and adventurous. My drive wasn’t as great as others, but it still left me in the rough to a severely downhill green from 160m. But because of the hill, I used my 9-iron and absolutely hit a peach of a shot, just barely clearing the bunkers and falling and rolling to around 10 – 12 feet of the hole. BIRDIE chance! And again, like hole 2, I rammed my birdie through the break and kicked myself when I missed the comeback putt again. Three putt Bogey. (+10)

6. Putt (-3)

Hole 12: Par 3, I pushed my 5 iron right and once more, behind the bloody bunker, I conjured up a chip INTO the bunker. 3rd shot out and two putted for my double (+12). So unnecessary!

7. Chip (-3)

Hole 13: Took a 5 iron, duffed it abit so I had around 160m left. Again, since it was a red pin, I took out my 9 iron and flighted the ball perfectly to the green. Left with around 8 footer for birdie, I finally walked it in, while pointing my finger a’la Tiger Woods. (-11). This is how golf should play, dammit!

Hole 14: Usually after a birdie, we end up screwing up the rest of the game. But this time around, I managed to sustain an unusually good driving day by sending this one down the fairway, with water on left. I only hard a six iron in from there, but I didn’t hit it great and again it was slightly short. At least this time my chip wasn’t horrendous, but it wasn’t great so I had to two-putt for bogey. (+12)

Hole 15: Traditionally difficult hole for me but again, stripped down the drive and even had time to pose. This was completely bludgeoned and best drive of the day. I was around 30m in front of my other friend who hits a reasonably distance as well. However, I found my ball halfway into a divot and gauge it out to the back of the green where again, a routine two putt par. (+12)

Hole 16: Par 5 uphill. Hit the driver well again — today it’s almost like auto cruise — and from there, a 5 wood against the wind had no chance. So I took a 60 degree wedge into around 80m and pulled it. Now, I had a putt from fringe that goes down, up and down again to the hole. 20 footer at least. Birdie try and it gets in!! Multiple birdie rounds, even though the second one, I didn’t know much about it. (+11)

Hole 17: This was my third attempt to escalate and probably easiest par 3, which is downhill and where we can see if from the Tropicana road when we drive in. I hit probably the only place I shouldn’t hit – right. In the rough, I chipped out ok, but two putt once more for bogey (+12)

Hole 18: Wanted to thunder this ball down the fairway and straightup ended with a duck hook. We found the ball nestling under the tree and had some hidden roots. I gingerly hit my 5 wood to clear the trees, but it plopped down to around 200m from the uphill green. I tried another 5 wood shot again, whiffing it again. WTF?!? Now in rough I tried one more time and finally soared to the fringe. For some crap reason, I decided to chip instead of putt and was unduly reminded that my chipping expertise is probably the same roughly as a 6 month old baby. The chip barely made to the green  for 5 on and from there a two putt for a very disappointing last hole for me. (+14)

8. Drive (-2)

9. Chip (-4)

So overall, at 86 gross, it’s really good. But I lost mostly from my chipping problems (4 strokes) and my putt, another 3 strokes dropped. On the plus side, my driver, except for two occasions was almost perfect, and my irons were hole hunting today more often than not. So, really, a very good round for me and if I can pick up 2 – 3 strokes from my chipping, I think I can probably shoot a consistent sub 85 round.

But the good thing here is that at 86, this is probably my best score on Tropicana ever!

Now on to the Ryder Cup!

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!!

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.

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!

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.

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!