Grand illusions dashed [UPDATED]Published 9:59am Monday, August 27, 2012 Updated 12:03pm Monday, August 27, 2012
I have to credit the staff at Pebble Lake Golf Course for the set-up during last weekend’s club championship.
I can’t say I’m happy with them, however.
The course conditions were – and I’m sure everyone else who played in the tournament would agree with me – as difficult as I have ever seen them.
Of course, I wasn’t prepared for them.
Playing in the Pebble Lake Golf Club division – you needed a handicap of five or higher to play in it – most of us with handicaps around five or six were used to shooting somewhere between 75 and 80 on our regular golf course, with a few scores around par sprinkled in. In recent weeks, I have been disappointed with a score of 79 or 80, and I’m sure many of my competitors with similar handicaps felt the same.
On Saturday and Sunday, if I would have shot two “mediocre” rounds of 79 (158 total), I would have won my division. If you read the story in Monday’s paper, in which Ben Christenson won the Pebble Lake Flight with a 159, clearly you realize I did not.
In fact, with a score of 174, I was somewhere between the middle and back of the pack. Along with that score came a wild roller coaster ride of emotions.
For one thing, I never would have thought that the combination of faster and harder greens, most difficult pin placements and slightly thicker roughs around the greens and in prime driving areas, could affect scores so much.
I had pondered going through a blow-by-blow account of Saturday’ disastrous round, but I decided to spare you the details, other than the fact that the round started with a triple bogey, ended with a quadruple bogey, and in between was mixed with about six holes of good golf, and then a lot of flubbed chips, not-even-close lag putts, and missed short ones.
My emotions were simply all over the board that day. Panic after my triple-bogey first hole. Building anger as my score skyrocketed to 11-over par. Some relief as I finally realized my chances of contending in the tournament were over, and I announced that I would quit after nine holes.
I experienced a bit of joy as I birdied the ninth (which prompted me to keep playing) and then going even par on the first five of the back nine. And then I was back to good old anger after doubling 15, bogeying the next two and finishing with that in-the-water, lost-ball eight.
After holing my final putt, I gave my playing partners my scorecard and abruptly left the course. I was sure I was tied for last place — only because one guy I was playing with shot the same score I did.
Not playing the next day wasn’t even the issue at that point. Nor was the idea of taking my name off the Pot O’ Gold tournament list. I was never, ever going to play golf again.
“What will I do with my time now that I’m not going to play golf?” I said to myself. Checkers? Knitting? Maybe I could get all that yard work done that I had been putting off. There were lots of possibilities.
Of course, a meeting with my fellow golfing buddies that evening brought me off the ledge. I begrudgingly got up the next morning, put on my golf shirt and shorts, and dragged myself to the course.
A look at the scores among others of similar handicap also brought some perspective to the situation. Again, the good scores were typically mediocre ones, and my score of 90 was essentially near the middle of the pack. Everyone struggled.
I played with far more perspective the next day. Yes, I struggled, and I was not sure where my short game went (still don’t know.) But I was able to enjoy the game, as much as you can enjoy playing badly.
It also made me realize this: Whenever I put up a good score or series of them, I start to get ideas of playing the game at a higher level. If I can just shave a few strokes here and there, I say to myself, you could go places with your game.
Last weekend brought such thoughts down to Earth. I am a decent golfer who has to run a newspaper to make a living, I’m too old for that to change, and I am just going to have to live with those facts.
Thanks, Pebble Lake Golf Course staff, for bringing my delusions of grandeur to the ground.
Joel Myhre is The Journal’s Publisher. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org