Sahalee Country Club was the site of the 1998 PGA Championship tournament and the NEC World Golf Championship in 2002. It will host the 2010 PGA Championship. It is also practically in my backyard. Given this, it is odd that even though I have lived here for over four years, I had never played there until today. Alex's friend Kat (who is now Paul's and my friend as well) arranged for us to play with a co-worker of hers who is a member and past president of Sahalee. Today was that round and it was a lot of fun.
Now I've played Sahalee many times before if you count the Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 video game on XBox. In fact, I played it this morning and shot a 63 so it was a bit of a shock to play it for real and not be able to hit the ball 380 yards like I can on the XBox. This certainly had some impact on my score. In fact, I have a whole list of excuses why my score would not be so great today in "real" golf:
1) It was raining
2) I haven't played for 3 weeks
3) I was on planes for 12 hours this week and I'm stiff and sore
4) It's a new course that I don't know that well (unless I have an XBox controller in hand)
5) I'm a whiny golfer and my shoulder was tight
6) I don't like playing in my rain jacket
7) George W. Bush. Not sure why, but I'm sure it is at least part his fault
Paul and I warmed up a bit at the Plat before heading over to Sahalee. We then met Bob and had lunch and then warmed up some more. The course, the clubhouse, the practice facility are all top notch. It is a beautiful course in excellent condition and it really was a joy to play. That said, I had a ton of double bogeys today. Many of them were because my driver was consistently right for the front 9 and my irons were a bit chunky. I was mister 2 putt though and my chipping was not bad. My overall score was 99 which included only 1 par (on 18), hitting 2 GIRs and only 5 fairways. Yuck.
The fun part, though, was that even playing like I was today, I did not lose balls. When I hit a bad shot, I would find the ball, just in the trees somewhere and I would need some sort of interesting recovery shot to get back into the fairway. That is much more fun than just having to drop a new ball. On the 4 holes where I needed to hit a provisional, I always found my ball and didn't need the provisional. In fact, the only time I lost a ball was when I hit a fat tee shot into the water on 17. If I had played like I did today at the Plateau, I would have lost at least 2 sleeves of balls and scored much worse with the penalty shots. The good news is that I know I can do a lot better at that course. It is extremely fair and if I just had a better game off the tee today, I would probably have shot something closer to 89.
Paul, on the other hand, was on fire today. 3 double bogeys, 1 bogey and 14 pars for a 79. He had a great day.
The net is that it is an excellent course in fantastic condition and I am looking forward to playing there again at some point. Hopefully soon :)