You have heard of horses for courses.
Its true in many sense for golf – some golf courses are just right for the eye – like Mines – everytime I play there, I feel like I can score a pretty good score. Generally when the course is set up to punish slicers I am happy as my ball almost never goes left to right. Some courses are nightmares to hookers like me – Rahman Hills is an example, where every problem is on the left. Seri Selangor, without a doubt.
But one course that I really can’t wrap my head around is IOI Palm Garden. From the outset you would think its a course you can have for breakfast. Pristine fairway, great greens, not so long, attackable in almost every sense – the index holes are not tough – but the craziness of it all is – WHY CAN’T I BLOODY SCORE IN THIS COURSE?
Hole 1: I started actually quite well. My drive missed the fairway bunker by a few feet and from 110m, I stuck my gap wedge to around 15 feet, downhill putt. The putt was very fast and I just overpowered it and missed the come-back. 3 -putt to start but ok, not too bad. (+1).
Hole 2: The easy par 3, but sometimes I tend to hit short. Not this time, I hit a good sandwedge in but again, it was over the hole around 20 plus feet. This time, two putt par. (+1).
Hole 3: Of all times to hook it, I hooked it. It hit the cartpath on the left and unluckily went out of bounds. Reloaded and found the left rough, and my 9 iron approach was good, but right of the green. I tried my hand in chipping for the first time – and very well done. It was perfect and rolled to around 2 feet and I managed to double bogey. GREAT CHIP! (+3)
Hole 4: The classic par 5. Hit an OK drive, but it drew a bit to the left but no harm done. My second shot basically took me to the perfect spot. Around 80 meters away from the so-called island green. I don’t think I would screw this up. Oh Wait. I did. I skulled my 60 degree STUPIDLY and it basically buried itself into the green bunker’s slope. I fluffed my bunker shot poorly (its an impossible lie anyhow) and it zipped into the water. Dropped for six, and actually chipped very well close and double bogeyed (+5)
Hole 5: Back to back par 5. Hit a pure drive that almost reached the fairway bunker on the right. A routine regulation on and had a 15 footer for birdie which I barely missed. Par. (+5)
Hole 6. This is the index 1 par 4 which isn’t so Index 1. A nice drive, but with a nine iron in my hand, I conjured up a crap shot that pulled into the left greenside bunker. What a waste! Hit an ok shot out and had a 10 – 12 footer to save par which once more I missed. (+6)
At this point, I felt pretty solid with my game. My chips were spot on, and really, if it wasn’t for that hopeless hook on the 3rd and the bad 60 degree on the par 5 4th, my scores would have been solid. The putting isn’t great though, and I think one of the things about this course is the undulating greens and faster than normal roll.
Hole 7. Just when you think its fine, it comes crashing down. This isn’t an easy par 3 to begin with, but its manageable. But with my 7 wood in hand, I duffed it so badly, it badly trickled 30 meters away, and before the ladies tee box. Shocked, I duffed my second shot as well, and facing a third shot flop shot, I hit a poor 60 degree that didn’t even reach the green. My 4th chip was finally on, very far away, two putted for a shocking (and unexpected) triple bogey. (+9)
Hole 8. Recovering from that was tough, but the last two holes always had good memories for me. I however, pushed my drive so far right this time that I was on the next hole’s rough. Luckily I had an opening which I hit my 60 degree over and onto the green, 8 feet from the hole. Burned the side of the hole with my birdie putt and settled for my par (+9)
Hole 9. A good, good drive set me up slightly on the right. This is a sucker pin to hit because it was set up in the narrow side of the green on the right where you had to hit over the bunker and stop it dead or else it would roll down over the hill. I don’t think I ever hit a better 60 degree before in my life. It lofted just over the bunker and dropped, rolled to the fringe, almost over the green. I had a 10 footer again for a birdie which I once more missed, and settled for par. (+9)
Hole 10. Cross over to the par 5. I hooked this ball to the left and thought I had OB’ed. Played a provision and luckily found my ball hanging on the rough a bit on the left. I hit my second to around 100 meters and facing an uphill, I was switching between my sand and gap. I settled for gap and stuffed it to – again! – around 12 feet of the hole, and an extremely makeable birdie putt. And again, I missed for par. (+9)
Hole 11. I was a little on the roll here. This is a very nice downhill hole, where my driver found me around a 120m away from the uphill green. I always hit short on this, so this time, decided to go long a bit with my pitching wedge. Right choice and it found me with a birdie chance around 10 feet, with a downhill sashay. I thought this would be my chance, but once more, missed the go**amn birdie!! That’s 4 makeable birdies within 12 feet that I have suffered to miss!!! (+9)
Hole 12. Going into the 12th with 4 pars in the row should make me a happy guy but instead, I was pissed not making any birdies of those close approach shots. This par 3 needs to land on the right and it would trickle down to the back of the steep green, where the flag was. I hit –what I thought was a perfect pitching wedge — but instead of catching the hill on the right, it spun back on the false front and slided all the way down to the front of the green – very very far away. I couldn’t recover and three putted for a bogey. (+10)
Hole 13. A very tough par 5 which I never ever scored well. The last time I played on this cursed hole I hit a freaking tree on my third and it rebounded OB. This time, I was so scared of the left water, I hooked my drive to the left. No harm. I hooked my 6-iron again but it is on the fairway around 130m away from the green. Its on the fairway and looks very very good. Like how I screwed up the other par 5, my pitching wedge inexplicably pushed right – as if the bloody water was a magnet for my bloody ball – and splash. I think I played this hole a thousand times and every time I mess it up. Always, my third. I dropped , hit my fifth, found the front of the green, but so totally pissed off, I three putted for triple. Stupid, stupid hole. 13 is the unlucky number and I am (+13) as well.
Hole 14. Tough par 3 to pair with unlucky 13. This time, I managed to avoid the left OB and hung out too far right, into the bunker. Routine out from the bunker (i.e not so good), and two putted for bogey. Its a good score here. (+14)
Hole 15. At this point, the flight in front of us were really killing our buzz. Slow, and hopelessly inadequate in terms of skills, they were forcing us to wait on every shot, and the more I waited, the more pissed I became. I am a very impatient golfer, I admit. My drive here was so poor, it bounded almost into the water fronting my tee box. Luckily the ball was alive a bit on the left, but a long wait and I pulled my 7 wood further left. At this point I was on the other hole’s fairway, around 160 away for my third. Again, a long wait. Duffed my 6 iron into a fairway bunker. Bunker out with my fourth, and still away from the green. Tried to five – on but hit a poor shot that flew over the flag and left me with an extremely long putt over an undulating green. Three putted for triple. (+17). Pissed.
Hole 16. This is the very easy driveable hole. Short par 4, just straight down. Waited for a long time for the front flight to clear because we could actually drive this green if we catch it. I did catch it, but it went straight right instead of drawing. Smack into the flower beds. Took a free drop, and hit a mediocre 60 degree to the right fringe. Chip was so-so, left me around 10 feet which I failed to convert for par. (+18). Hey, chip is not bad though.
Hole 17. Downhill par 3, and I semi-duffed my 8, so it hung on the front rough just missing the bunkers. Hit a very poor chip – but based on my chipping record for the day, I can’t complain much – I hit more good ones than bad ones. Had to settle for bogey. (+19)
Hole 18. OK – blasted my drive right next to the fairway bunker on the right, and actually hit a good 9 iron in from around 140m. It avoided the water, hugged the right but for some reason landed dead on the green instead of rolling forward. I had a long around 25 – 30 feet putt, which I lagged to around 4 feet. Should be a routine par, but I pulled my putt and unfortunately ended with a bogey. So I started the game with a three putt bogey and ended the day with a three putt bogey. Good symmetry. (+20)
Conclusion: At 92 gross on what should be an easy course is very disappointing. More so because those triple bogeys could so easily be avoided. I would like to lay blame on the slow-a$$ jokers in front of us, but to be fair, I should be managing my own game – slow players are part of the curse of this world, they will always be around till the end of time, so it’s just how we manage our game around these people…and frankly, I did a poor job of it. Better luck next round then.