After a long layoff (so long in fact that I didn’t even realised that my club has issued new membership cards), I finally managed to get a very fast game into Rahman Putra, Championship (Lakes) course. The objective was really to get my chips/pitching more ready for actual play. I’ve been practicing in my garden but those are entirely different conditions. Rahman, with its cowgrass and tight lies around the green should indicate if any of my methods are actually working.
Hole 10: Teeing off at the harder back 9, I promptly hooked my drive into the water. Dropped, submarined my 3rd shot by 7 wood and with an approach shot of 110m, I hit my gap wedge much to short – and here comes the chip, and while I got good contact on it, I chipped it much too long and had to two-putt for double. (+2)
Hole 11: Hit a reasonable 5 wood which had a baby hook, but on the rough on the left, hit my 6 iron that flew the green bunker and trickled to around 8 feet of the hole. Sank the birdie! (+1)
Hole 12: 150+ meters up hill, I hit my 7-iron slightly short and had another chip to test. Hit a pretty good one with my gap, which landed just on the fringe but refused to move onto the green which would have been perfect. Two putt, bogey. (+2)
Hole 13: Easy par 4, just drive it, which I did. Landed around 70 meters from the green on the left with the ball sitting up in the rough. Now, for the testing pitch. 60 degree, inches away from being very good, but still an excellent contact which made me do a wardance of delight. Two putt for par (+2)
Hole 14: This is not an easy hole, but with my crooked drive, landed in the left bunker (I note that my drives are still hooking to the left a fair bit). With an 8-iron, I managed to hit a good bunker shot, which caught the trees on the right near the green and yes – another chip shot. And a good one at that, sank the par putt. (+2).
At this point I was feeling quite good about my chipping. There has been some pretty good contact and although these were not exceptional by any stretch of imagination, you need to understand where I was a few weeks earlier. I couldn’t even chip/pitch without feeling shaky all over, and skulling the damn ball all over the place.
Hole 15: Par 3, pretty easy one, I landed on the green but this time, three putted for bogey. Dang (+3)
Hole 16: The tough stretch begins. I boomed my best drive of the day and had around 150m left to the green. My 8-iron fell woefully short and facing a chip I should be confident about, I duffed but contacted it, but it was poor – early indication I still suck. Two putted for bogey (+4)
Hole 17: Good, good drive to a tough tough hole. But skulled my 7-wood that just managed to cross the water, but hung on the slope. I unfortunately shanked my 60 degree 3rd shot! It seems I am insisting to chip today. A chip that was poor (but still had contact), two putted for double (+6). Frustrating due to an excellent start position.
Hole 18: A poor topped drive but with 7-wood, managed to cross the water and left with 70 meters for my third. 60 degree was well hit to around 15 feet away from the hole. But, my first putt was too aggressive and the ball trickled down the green too fast…too far. Three-putted for bogey! (+7)
This 9 could have been much better, if I had putted properly. But then again, some of my chips were good as well, so it evened out.
Hole 1: The back 9 was bad because we ended up playing behind a MASSIVELY slow group. MASSIVELY. I hooked my drive into the woods on Hole 1, punched out, and half chipped/half pitched to the fringe, and two putted for bogey. (+8)
Hole 2: Tough par 3. I actually duffed my ball so badly it didn’t even reach the water! So for my second, my sand wedge dropped to around 15 feet, and two putted to escape with bogey! (+9)
Hole 3: Not a good drive, a bit of hooked left me slightly behind the small palm trees. But with a 5 wood hit well with natural hook, it left me on the fairway from around 120m to a downhill green. I should have hit this green with my eyes close but instead with my gap wedge I conjured a crap approach that drew too much and landed for a testing chip. A poor chip left me too much to do and managed a frustrating bogey. (+10). Seems like my chipping is going back to retardedness.
Hole 4: Another drive, another hook. But this time, with a lucky break as I have a window between the trees on the left. Pitching wedge on the green! And once more – 3 putted!! DANG (+11)
Hole 5: Hit my tee shot too short which left me with a somewhat difficult chip to a back pin. A mediocre chip which ran slightly too far to the back fringe and from there two putted for bogey. (+12). I have started my back 9 with 5 straight bogeys.
Hole 6: HOOK! Trickled down to the next hole’s rough, near the next hole’s bunker. Without any way out, I punched out and with a third shot from around 110m downhill, a sand wedge took me to around 10 feet from the hole and by some stroke of incredible luck, sank it for par (+12)
Hole 7: At least a straight drive this time. With around 150 to the hole, I hit my best 8-iron, perhaps of all time. You know you hit a perfect shot when the finishing is there, when the impact is there, when you feel a bit of buzz on the feedback from the shaft and the ball flight is perfect. On that shot itself, you feel – hell, this is a pro shot. The only difference is that the pros hit these shot 93% of the time. We hit these shots 7% of the time. Dropped to 8 feet and just missed my birdie and settled for par (+12)
Hole 8: The toughest hole. I topped my drive but still managed to find fairway, although an incredible distance away. A 7 wood took me to around 20 meters from green and pitching distance. Again, a very good pitch to a very difficult green. It left me on the fringe, and a slippery two putt for bogey (+13)
Hole 9: A good 5 wood and 7 wood left me to around 110m to a very uphill green. Unfortunately I couldn’t close with a good approach shot, my pitching wedge leaving me to the right of the green. I want to end the day with a super chip, but instead skulled it and airmailed it to around 15 feet past the pin with an extremely fast, curvy downhill. Managed to negotiate the putt for a bogey finish. (+14)
Conclusion: It’s ok. I like where my chipping is heading. My driving is not heading in the same direction though but like I said, you can compensate for drives but not for short game. An 86 gross on the traditionally difficult Lakes of Rahman, after more than a year not playing the course is, to me, a fairly good score!