Sunday, January 30, 2005

Long Time No Tee - Golf @ Plateau and Trilogy

This was the first time I've played since I got back from Sarasota. A couple of weeks of skiing at Whistler and hanging out with Kate and Zach have been higher priorities but I got out this weekend twice with Rick and Paul. The first round was at the Plateau Club where I am now a former member. The course was in pretty good shape, though very wet. It was a pretty standard slog through the Plateau Club with not a lot of very memorable shots but perhaps that is because my mind is now filled with the second round -- today's round at Trilogy.

We had an 8:10 tee time and after warming up, we decided to play from the blues, which are the backmost tees at Trilogy. While my tee shot was well right, I hit the green on the second shot and two putted for par. Rick even birdied the first hole. I like starting out with a par. And I like following it up with three more pars even more. The most interesting one was the 615 yard par 5 that I had no chance of hitting the green in regulation, but a well drained putt saved par.

I doubled number 5, breaking my par streak but then parred number 6. Wow, +2 after 6 holes, pretty cool. I finished out the front 9 with bogies and was +5 after nine. Then things started to get better (!) On the tenth hole, I hit a great drive to the middle of the fairway, but my second shot went left across the cart path and was on some leaves just outside of the hazard. I tried to bump it up to the green but the wet grass caught it and it stopped just off the green. Fortunately, my putt from off the green found the hole and I escaped with another par. On 11, my drive went waaaayyyy right into the trees for my only lost ball of the day. I took the penalty and hit my third shot onto the green and sank that putt for a par even with the stoke.

I started thinking that I really had something going around this point and tried to just play smart to not blow a low score. 14 was nasty with a tee shot that again went right and hit a tree, but found its way back into play. I hit the second shot fat, the third one short into a bunker. Ugh. The bunker shot was great though, making it up to the green and I two putted for a double bogey. Not pretty, but it was my second long sand shot that went exactly as I had hoped, so I was happy with that part.

As I came up to 16, I was +8, thinking I just need some pars to stay under 80 (a bit easier than usual since Trilogy is a par 70 course). Of course asking for 3 pars in a row is a pretty tall ask for me. I hit another great drive leaving me about 98 yards to the green and then hit my approach to about 8 feet. Fortunately, Paul ended up just behind my shot so he gave Rick and me a great read to the hole and we both holed out our birdie putts. Birdie! Now I'm only +7 with two to go.

17 is a long dogleg right par 4. I hit a great drive to fairway at the corner, then my 4 iron rescue club 180 yards to the green. I didn't really think I would hit the green with it, I figured I would get close and at least not hit it into the water but the shot was right on. Two putts and I have another par. Golf is really a great game when things work the way you want them to :)

So I walked up to 18 at +7. Tied with Paul. We all hit our drives well to the right into the 10th fairway. My second shot stays right and is getting close to some trees. Rather than go at the hole, I figure I should just protect the score and hit it to a safe place back in the fairway. Lying 3, I am 78 yards from the pin. I hit a wedge to about 5 feet and realize that I am just a 5 foot putt from a closing par. I..uh...missed the putt. But I made the next one, giving me a grand total of 78 -- an all time low score. I had a 79 at Bellevue last year around this time but since we were playing from the blues at Trilogy, this gives me a round rating of 7.533 - a new low. Very cool.

I'm going to call this a soft 78 since we were being a bit generous with conceding putts and Trilogy is only par 70 but I was really happy with the round. In general, my drives were long and straight and my wedges were really on. I even had a few putts drop which hasn't been the case for a long time.

Fun :)

Duffergeek Stat Zone:

Score: 90 (15.580 round rating)
Putts: 33 (ick)
GIRs: 4
Fairways: 7/14 - terrible
Interesting stat: I parred 3 of the 4 par 3 holes.

Score: 78 (7.533 round rating)
Putts: 26
GIRs: 5
Fairways: 8/13 - the ones that stayed in the fairway were generally very long as well
Interesting stat: Record low score. Oh and I didn't fall down at all this time - just like skiing!

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Skiing at Whistler this weekend

Kate, Zach and I are up at Whistler skiing this weekend. Fun! This is our first time up here and we are staying at Eric's sweet condo. I've been meaning to do this for a long time and finally got around to it.

Summary of my skiing today:

I fell.

A lot. :)

Though given that I haven't skied for about 3 years and I've only gone about 5 or 6 times in my life, I'm still happy with it. It is kind of like golf in that there are a bunch of things you need to do correctly and you really can't be thinking about them if you want it to work well. Also like golf, there are times when it seems to click for a little while and I was thinking "I can do this."

Then I'd do something to bring me back to earth.... quickly.

Tomorrow, I think I will actually try a lesson. Now I have a better sense of what I need to work on, it will be great to get help.

Kate and Zach did great and had a lot of fun as well. They were both in full day classes. Zach was with about 10 other kids and really loved it. He is really excited to go back tomorrow. Kate was in a group lesson as well but she was the only one in the group so she basically got a full day private lesson. She made it up to the top of the Whistler gondola and went down the upper and lower Whiskey Jack runs. She really liked it as well, but was sooooo cold that she's not sure she wants to go back in the morning. Her first SMS to me today really sums it up:


Saturday, January 01, 2005

Pictures from Alex's New Years Eve party

We had another great New Year's Eve fondue party at Alex's house last night. One heck of a confetti explosion as well. Happy New Year!

Oh, did I mention Kate's new hair color?

Golf: Um... what happened to December?

OK, it has been a while but it has been an unusual holiday season this year. But hey, it's 2005 now! Happy New Year!

I went to Florida to visit my parents for Christmas and played three rounds there. The first at Waterlefe (yeah -- they spelled leaf funny) the second at the Links at Greenfield Plantation and the third round at the TPC Prestancia Stadium Course.

Now winter in Florida should be nice and warm, right? Not this year. The day I arrived, so did the rain and cold. The highs were lower 50s and there was a relatively steady rain for the first 4 days or so. Even worse, one night the winds really started kicking up to about 65 MPH. It was really howling out there and it blew a bunch of sailboats up on to the beach in Sarasota bay. By the time we got to Prestancia, though, it started to feel like Florida again. The sun came out and we had a nice round on a very nice course.

So at this point, I'm sure you are all on the edge of your seats to find out how I did. Thanks to my new Nike Ignite 10.5° stiff driver (thanks Leslie!!) I did pretty well. The driver was doing great with relatively consistent 250 yard drives that most of the time were down the middle of the fairway. Now on these courses, hitting 250 yards off the tee leaves me some sort of short iron or wedge into the green which is something I was not used to -- but if felt really nice :) At Waterlefe, I missted the greens pretty regularly but was chipping really well giving me 6 holes with only one putt -- which is good because the greens at Waterlefe were like ice.

TPC Prestancia was the nicest course of the week though. Lots of challenging holes with expansive waste bunkers and a fair amount of water on many of the holes. In fact, it was the long drives that got me in trouble a few times when I bombed shots into bunkers or water that I didn't think I would ordinarily get to reach. It's hard to feel too bad about that though :) On the front 9, I was playing really well parring 5 of the holes and finishing the front 9 at a TPC course with a 40. Wow! I should have stopped there :) The back 9 was a little less friendly, particularly starting double, bogey, double but I finished the day with an 87. In fact, I finished all three rounds (and for that matter, my last 10 rounds of the year) in the 80s. Overall, it was a fun set of rounds with my parents to close out a remarkable year of golf.

Let's go over some of the most memorable moments of the year.

First, of course, the January rounds at Pebble Beach and Spyglass, but even earlier was my first sub 80 round at Bellevue. Then the frigid, windy round at Paiute for the PMA tournament. Then a couple of fun rounds at the Disney courses, the highlight being Eagle Pines. There was the first 36 hole day at Newcastle for Rick's birthday. Then my 18+ rounds during my sabbatical, including 6 rounds at some beautiful courses in Hawaii. Then the Member/Guest tournament with Kevin, a number of fun rounds with Dave, Clint and Kevin at Bear Creek and the amazing trip to Sahalee in October. All in all, I had 60 non-tournament rounds logged for the year and my handicap, which started the year at about 18 dropped to an unofficial 12.7 (that includes some of our winter rounds which don't get officially posted).

All in all - a good year of golf.