Kevin and I are playing in the Member/Guest tournament at the Plateau Club this week. This is really the thing that I have been working towards all summer. It started today with a practice round/skins game and then a horse race.
We checked in and got our great swag bag. New Footjoy shoes, a box of Pro V1s, a nice polo shirt, baseball cap, new glove -- even a shoe horn! Good stuff! Kevin and I headed out for our practice round. Practice round is a strange name for it though. Since this was also the skins game, they set the course up very differently from how it will play for the actual tournament. Some holes are playing from tees that are much farther back and the holes are cut in very difficult locations. Nice for a skins game, but it doesn't really let the guests practice for what the tournament will be like. The play was slow and after 4 hours, we had only gotten to hole 14 and the horse race was about to start so we bailed early. So much for practice :)
The horse race is great fun. For those who don't know, it works like this. The entire field is broken into 3 groups of 20 teams. Each of those groups heads to one of the holes. We started on 8. One person from each team tees off in order until there are 20 balls out in or near the fairway. Then we switch players for each subsequent shot until everyone is on the green. Then everyone putts from the inside out, again alternating players, until everyone has holed their putt. At the end of the first hole, they cut 1/2 of the teams with the highest score and we move to the next hole.
Kevin tee'd off on 8 and pulled it so it was sitting past the bunker on the left, but blocked out from a shot to the green. The lie looked worse than it really was but we got lots of sympathy from other players as they saw it on the way to their ball. I guess you could call it sympathy. Sometimes it sounded like laughing. I hit a good punch shot down the hill so the ball was sitting about 50 yards from the green. Kevin hit a great pitch onto the green to about 12 feet. We ended up two putting for a bogie. Not bad. Problem is that after all was said and done, six teams had better than bogie, and eight teams had worse, but only 10 teams could advance so we had a chip off to decide which four of the bogie teams would advance.
I elected to do the chip and had to stand off the right side of the green with my back to the green so I couldn't see how everyone elses chips went. More so that I couldn't see how it breaks than to not see where they ended up. From the right side of the green, a chip is very likely to roll all the way across to the rough on the other side and it sounded like a few people met this fate. I was the last one to chip and I was determined to not get caught too short or too long. I hit it pretty softly and let it roll, it rolled a bit more to the left than I wanted but it stopped short of the hole and did not roll past. They called the 3 closest chips (all short of the hole) and said they moved on and were ready to call one of the ones next to the rough when I stepped off my ball (13 feet from the hole) and then walked the same distance toward the rough and showed the judges that I was at least 2 feet closer than the ones at the fringe. They agreed and we moved on to the next hole. Yes!
On the next hole, we got a stroke since due to our team handicap. I tee'd off and was right of the fairway. Kevin hit a good second shot and I layed up to about 90 feet. Kevin then hit a great approach over the junk and we were about 8 feet from the hole lying 4. Yeah! The putting was not nearly as good though. I hit it a bit hard and it went about four feet past the hole (had I taken the time to look at it from the other side, I would have noticed it was much more downhill than I thought). Kevin missed the comeback by mere inches and I tapped in for a 7 net 6. 6 was the playoff line to get down from 10 teams to 5. Time for another chip off. This time Kevin did the chipping and he hit it pretty well. Of the five teams chipping, we were the third closest, but there was only room for two teams so that was the end of our horse race. I figure we came in 6th, but nothing lower than 3rd counts so there ya go :)
Tomorrow is the start of the match play rounds. Five rounds of nine holes each against different teams in our handicap range. Should be fun.