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.