Unless you have been living under a rock for the past week, you would know that we have now entered into a new era in our nation:- “Malaysia Baru”, or New Malaysia (which is ironically now run by the oldest prime minister in the world, and has surrounded himself with a Jedi Council with a collective age of 1000 years old). This has never and will never be a political blog in any way, so let’s just say this simply: To Pakatan Harapan – now that you are no longer the opposition, we hope you can run the country well and not mess up. To the outgoing Barisan Nasional – trust was lost over many years – but we believe there are many good people within the party, unfortunately for you, this time around, people voted for the party (not yours), and not the candidates. Pick yourself up and be the strong opposition and check and balance that this country needs. To the rakyat – let’s move on, and if possible, stop/minimise the vitrolic messages/gloating/blaming on social media to any individual or party and let time runs its course – this fledgling government and opposition need time to settle into their new roles, so let’s stop the bickering and play some bloody golf.
So we are back in Palm Garden, the difficult hunting ground for me, and some hopeless golf played here over the last few rounds. Hopefully my golf will change now, just like our country.
Hole 10. We started on the back nine and we had A LOT OF FLIGHTS today. Behind us were three flights, so six buggies, twelve people, twenty four pair of eyes looking at our tee shot. I striped the second best tee shot of the day on my first swing. It sailed so far, I could reach the green with my 5 wood second shot. Unfortunately, my 5 wood flared right, and ended up the dreaded shot behind the greenside bunker, about 20 meters from the flag. Flop, and right into the bunker. Fourth shot out to the fringe, and buried in a bad lie, poor poor putt (I should have chipped but chickened out) which hardly moved onto the green, and a two putt double bogey to start the day after an amazing drive. Oh boy. (+2)
Hole 11: Hit a good drive but drew a bit and landed on a downslope, sideways lie, 100m from the uphill green. I skulled my second shot sandwedge into the water – just straight duff due to the lie. Fourth shot on, and missed the 12 footer for bogey. Settle for double. (+4)
Hole 12: So early and I need to steady the ship a bit, which did not occur. I hit a poor 48 degree (its the club between my gap and my pitching, and hardly used), landed in the front bunker, came out nicely but on an extremely undulating green, two putted to escape with a bogey. (+5)
Hole 13: The Hateful Par 5. I hate this because I can never survive it. This time a reasonable drive to the left and a hooked eight iron left me with a difficult shot behind a tree. This time, I managed to get my club to it and it flopped near the green. Time to CHIP! And I did make a good contact chip for my fourth but it fizzed by the hole to around 8 feet over. Testy putt for par. Missed, settle bogey. Hey at least it was a reasonable chip and at least a bogey on this hole finally! (+6)
Hole 14: Tough par 3. But they moved forward the tee box to the whites so I was going in with a 9-iron for around 150+ meters. I over drew it and it landed on the left, near the fence but still have room for my chip. I chipped very well, to within 5 feet or so but just couldn’t covert the par. Bogey (+7)
Hole 15: Another par 5. This one has water on the right, so after a good drive in the middle of the fairway, I conjured a hopeless 5 wood which hooked horribly. I am now under a tree with nowhere. 3rd shot punch out, 4th shot from 100m zeroed in to the green and I had about 15 feet to save par. AND……I didn’t. Bogey (+8)
Hole 16: This is a short par 4 made slightly longer with the tees moved to the back. I usually hook this one because we think we can reach the green in one (and we never do) – but this time, without forcing, managed to land a nice 90 meters away, a simple sand wedge to around 20 feet, and two putt for my first par. (+8)
Hole 17: Another par 3, this time the one over water. Landed 8-iron on the fringe but with a terrible long putt over an undulating green. 3 putt time, which I duly obliged, for bogey. (+9)
Hole 18: Probably my first bad drive which i flared right, but caught a lucky bounce and was in the rough, around 110m from the green. It’s not an easy green (It’s an index 4 hole after all), and between a 9 iron and a pitching, I opted for the latter, and launched my second best pitching wedge of the day to around 15 feet on the fringe, back pin. I putted badly (should have chipped), but managed to sink in the 10 footer for par. (+9)
+9 at the turn is not bad for this course. The greens are terribly difficult, but so far, one 3 putt is pretty good and my drives were switched on, and my iron play and chipping was ok. Might be the time to break the 90.
Hole 1: Now, this was the best drive of the day. Cut the dogleg right, straight perfect drive, boring trajectory (not the over-spun, high draw I always hit), that just shot off the face of the club. The result? 30m from the green after cutting the dogleg completely. The consequence? A retarded flop/chip that was in between and no clue how to execute and finally landed short of the green. ARG! Chip wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great, it rolled around 10 feet past the cup and I missed the putt back. Crazy how two great drives (Hole 1, Hole 10) resulted in +3 over 2 holes. (+10)
Hole 2: This is technically a very easy par 3 to a green that is probably the flattest in the entire course. However, I skulled my sand wedge to the back, chipped on and two putted for a stupid bogey. (+11)
Hole 3: The long par 4 with trouble left. This time, popped my drive a bit and had around 130m to an uphill green. I should have opted for a 9-iron but instead my pitching was short and had a horribly long putt on an undulating green. Three putt? Yes, of course, for bogey. (+12)
Hole 4: Everyone’s favourite par 5 because it forces almost everyone to lay up. My drive was slightly pulled and unfortunately landed in the bunker on the left. My out was bad, 9-iron barely rolling past the 150m marker. At around 140m to a downhill green, it was either a controlled 9-iron or a muscled pitching wedge. The pin was a sucker pin right at the front, guarded by water all around. I hit the best pitching wedge of the day – starting right straight at the water and drawing it slightly in and landed just at the side of the green around a meter away from the water. From there, the undulation took it to 5 feet past the side of the hole, pin high. Doesn’t matter if the birdie can’t be caught, and thankfully (and finally, on this course) – I did sink it in. (+11)
Hole 5: The euphoria of the previous hole continued with a good drive, a layup of eight iron to 100m, and a perfect gap wedge to around 15 feet of the hole. I thought two birdies in a row would be cool so I blasted my putt way past and just stupidly missed my comeback for par. Three PUTT for bogey! (+12)
Hole 6: The long par 4. Good drive, and left with a 6-iron, which I promptly duffed to around 100m. Then a gap wedge to around 15 feet again, missed the par and settled for bogey. (+13)
Hole 7: Completely screwed up my 7-wood off the tee (second time in a row from last round), hooking it way left. This time, though, I managed to flop my wedge around 10 feet from the green, and chipped a great chip to inches from the hole. Chipping rocks! (+14)
Hole 8: This hole usually is my favourite but today they set up the tee box to the right – meaning, with my draw/hook, I had to stand outside the teebox with my ball teed up right at the edge of the left boundary. With this kind of retarded setup, I boomeranged my ball right to left and into bunker. From there, a poor out, left with a wedge which I chunked to around 10 feet. As in the last hole, hit a great chip to about 5 feet, and saved bogey again. Chipping really rocks! (+15)
Hole 9: Final hole tee box was similar to Hole 8, but this time my hook wasn’t so bad. And I got lucky. Bounced on the cart path and like Hole 18, landed at the side of the cart path about 80m from the green. My 60 degree however was poor and it landed only at the front of the green with a difficuly uphill putt. I hate to end the day with a three putt bogey, but unfortunately, I did. My first putt wasn’t great but my second putt from around 8 feet made a horseshoe around the hole. Another 3 putt on these dastardly difficult greens! (+16)
4 three putts in a round isn’t great but no complaints. The greens are really very difficult to putt. Otherwise, it was a good a round as I can hope for, with my chipping seemingly back in order and my drives were excellent. Iron play was off and on but the putter needs a bit of work. Malaysia Baru = Golf Baru!