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!

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