It was a beautiful day today, and after doing a few things around the house, I headed out to Tall Chief for a solo round. I used to play at Tall Chief a fair amount before joining the Plateau Club. It has the advantage of rarely being busy and thus it is a good fallback when other places are full. Having not played there since December of 2002 (it was very cold that day -- my dad and I had to wait for the greens to thaw before going out) I figured today would be a good day to see how different my game is from then.
As I got there, I noticed that there were several foursomes of older women already playing. They warned me it could be slow going but that they were only playing the front 9 so I decided to give it a go. They were right. After shooting par on the first two holes (great start!) I caught up with them on the third hole. They were playing REALLY slowly so after playing 3, I went back and played 2 and 3 again. That cleared up 4 and 5 but then I caught them again on 6 and it looked like it was going to be a while, so at that point, I jumped ahead to 10. At this point it was all clear and I could go as fast as I wanted to. I figured I would come back and finish up 7-9 again at the end.
After lots of waiting, though, I was pretty stiff and not hitting the ball well, so I spent 10 and 11 just getting warmed up again. Now the back 9 at Tall Chief is.. um... weird. Starting on hole 13, the fairways and greens are all sloped, pretty heavily. You can hit to the middle of the fairway on 13 or 14 (both par 5s) and the ball will bounce or roll hard to the left. Overcompensate to the right and you're in the trees. I ended up double bogey on 13 and bogey on 14. The final 4 holes have slanted greens and perhaps it is just the time of year, but they were in pretty bad shape today. I could not get a par for any of these last 6 holes, mostly due to lousy putting. I had some great tee shots though. I also played the par 3 #15 about 4 times just to try some different shots out. Never better than bogey though.
Then I went back to 7 (190 yard par 3 across water) and hit the second most memorable shot of the day. I hooked a 4 iron which crosses the fairway, hits a tree on the left and shoots to the right, ending up directly in front of the green, about 10 yards short. Chip up, finally sank a putt (the front 9 greens aren't as crooked) and got back on the par machine. Par on 8 and bogey on 9 put my front 9 total at 39. I figured I would try 10 and 11 again now that I was in a groove. My tee shot on 10 sliced into the fairway on 9 but when I got to it, I saw that if I went straight at the hole and I could clear the trees that separate the fairway. 175 yards to go, but heck, why not give it a try. I pulled my 5 iron, set up a little right to play a pull and let 'er rip. The ball flew perfectly straight, right through the gap in the trees, lands just right of the green, bounces up to the back of the sloped green, then rolls to the top of the hill, turns left and rolls down to 6 inches from the hole. Tap in birdie. Most memorable shot in quite some time -- too bad no one else was there to see it :)
Finshed with a par on 11, giving me a 41 on the back 9 and a combined 80 for the day. My best score there previously was an 87, though that was from the white tees and I played from the blues today so I would say this was a pretty good improvement. I'm stil getting used to playing a pull with my irons, but when I trust it, it works great. I just need to remember that the same thing doesn't work with my woods. The 3 wood was still the star of the show today. I took a couple of shots on one of the par 5s with the ignite but it continues to slice and not be much farther than the 3 wood, so it is still suspended :) I hope I can get that worked out before the member/member next week. Perhaps I'll give it a go tomorrow morning at the plat.