Have you ever had one of those weeks where nothing really went your way and you just feel crabby? This is how my week started out. I started out in a bad mood on Sunday and really made no effort to look at the bright side of anything...then things progressively got worse - I found a small water hazard in my basement that appeared after my water heater decided to start leaking who knows when. An unexpected home improvement project later and I'm ready to call this week a wash - but then I remembered that I was going to play golf with one of my favorite people yesterday.
The very first hole gave me only about a 20 yard avantage - and the first view I had was nothing like what I was used to - instead of looking at a wide flat fairway with tons of room to bail right, I was looking at hitting through a shute of trees with a tee box that made me feel like I was aiming directly left. Talk about a different perspective!
What can be a potential "on in 2" par-5 for me had become a third shot of about 130 yards. I missed the green left, had a tough chip and then barely missed my putt to end up with a bogey. That was hard work! At the par-3 2nd hole I came to realize how much shorter I hit than the guys - my friend hit a 5-iron from the tips and I hit a 5-wood from the whites - we both made the green, but I felt I was the one hitting from the back tees. I realized then that I really needed to hit great shots to end up 50 yards back!
After complaining about the fact that I had to hit from the whites on the first several holes (which I know my friend appreciated!), I started to marvel at how different the course looked from these tee boxes. I found myself hitting shots I never had had before and seeing angles and lies that I never gave a thought to. It felt weird to feel like I had hit about as good as I could and seeing my ball so far back from where I usually am. After finding myself struggling with the driver I felt like I needed to pull out the 3-wood, which meant losing a few precious yards to keep the ball in play...I can't tell you how many times I had to go 3-wood, 3-wood and was still not able to reach the green. UGH!
I couldn't get over how narrow some of the landing areas looked from farther back and I also realized how much I am on auto pilot on the course because I hit my ball in the same places and just know what club I'm going to hit without even checking yardages. Approach shots looked different and I really had to trust yardages and my knowledge of the holes to make sure I left myself in a good place for my chip shots.
Besides 2 of the 3 par-3's, I only hit 1 green in regulation the whole round...and I was hitting the ball pretty good! I gained a whole new appreciation for my 5-wood, 3-wood and hybrids, but the real winner of the day was my 60 degree Cleveland wedge - besides my putter, that club was used more times than any other club, and it came through in the clutch most times!
I must admit that after our round I was really glad I had agreed to play from the whites - it was hard, and truly not where I belong, but I liked the challenge - being forced to play different shots and seeing the course from a different point of view. I'm not going to say who won the match, but I will say that my goal was to break 88 and I did!! It was great to escape the world for a few hours - the sights and smells of Fall were all around and I couldn't help but soak them all in. And the time on the course reminded me of my old days working there - some of my favorite times.
I went out and had some "me time" this afternoon after getting some house projects done - as I drove up to the first tee I contemplated for a second hitting off of the whites again, but then I heard my friend "red tees" welcoming me and I couldn't say no! I waved as I drove by the whites, but I know deep down I'll visit again sometime.
I love that golf can offer both challenges and beauty at the same time...and a great opportunity to spend time with a friend. September golf is the best!