My men's golf team won the AMCC Championship this past weekend with a two-day score of 637 (keeping the best four out of five scores). That works out to 79.625 on a fairly difficult layout at Avalon Lakes Golf & Country Club.
ALGCC is a Pete Dye course that, like many Pete Dye courses, is very target-golf oriented. Dye seems to love to use visual trickery to goad players into going for more than they can handle. Sure, it rewards the long drive into the very narrow alley way between water and bunkers, but it punishes a slight miss more heavily than the reward of being 20 yards closer to the green for the approach shot.
So, my guys worked their butts off during the practice round(s) to learn a few things:
- How far was it to the various hazards and things.
- What lines should they take off the tee that kept them short of those kinds of things.
- Which side of the hole do you favor with your second shot, even if you're going for the green.
- How did the greens react to shots:
- From around the greens.
- From the fairway.
- From the rough.
That's all we did. We didn't keep a score. We didn't talk about which pins to attack, or which holes to attack. In our minds, every hole presented the same opportunity: a chance to get a Green in Regulation (GIR is King, after all) and a chance to make a two-putt par. Occasionally they'd hit one close (even if aiming for the center of the green), and occasionally they'd reach a par five in two, and sometimes they'd make a longer putt for a birdie.
When they were out of position, I stressed getting an nGIR and playing to give themselves a reasonable par putt. Sometimes reasonable was 30 feet. Other times it was four or five.
I don't think that my team necessarily hit the ball too much better than the other players on the other top two or three teams. I got to see a fair amount of their players, and they hit a lot of good shots, too. They certainly weren't 21 strokes worse (nearly three shots per player per round), or worse - the winning margin the men created for themselves.
I think it came down to the GamePlan, and that is the only credit I'll take in helping them win their fifth straight AMCC Championship, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA finals in May (in Rochester, NY).