Friday, Ben and I actually made it to Haystack for our first round of golf since starting this project.
If you haven’t played there, Haystack is a duffer’s dream. No tee times, very laid back, with a pretty funky (in a good way) vibe. If you’re in a hurry, or get frustrated with slow players in front of you, haystack is NOT for you. But if you want to play a casual round, try some second or even third shots, Haystack can be a fun afternoon. It’s a par-32 nine-hole course that is deceptively hard. What makes it hard is the unpredictable course conditions.
I was pretty excited to play and arrived early. So I walked around and hit some balls to get warm. Ben showed up right on time, we hit a second bucket of balls and queued up to begin play (that’s right, just wait your turn and go when ready.)
I’ll spare you the shot-by-shot details and summarize my day. I shot a 43. Yep, 11 over par. I had 4 balls find trees: 2 that were caused by course conditions, 1 that I hit offline, and the other I simply hit it too far by choosing the wrong club. I had 3 putts that lipped out requiring tap-ins to finish the hole. Twice I had chips that should have rolled right up onto the green, but the course was wet and soggy and ate the balls' momentum requiring another shot. A great example of these soggy conditions was on the 7th hole, a par three with an elevated tee hitting over a large pond. I hit a beautiful tee shot that landed firmly onto the green and sank. That’s right, no bounce or roll, it just stuck there about 25 feet from the pin. But that’s golf, right? You play the course in the condition that you find it.
To summarize my day, I had a blast. I really didn’t realize how much I missed actually playing a round of golf (it had been two years). I could have played better and next time I will! I was pleasantly surprised by my confidence hitting any club, up to and including my driver. As I begin to know how far certain clubs will go, I should have an easier time with club selection.
The thing that shocked me the most was the lack of confidence both Ben and I had when chipping. We have spent the majority of our practice time on finding balance within the swing while chipping. We approach the practice green with confidence and a sense of capability that neither of us had before starting this project. On the course, both of us were hesitant and underperforming. I assume that it’s simply the nerves associated with actually playing and that it will improve as we continue to play. I hope to play once or twice more before my next scheduled post, so I should know lots more by then.