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dagolfer18

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  1. dagolfer18

    And So It Begins…
    Over the past two weeks or so, I’ve been listening to a podcast on iTunes called Chasing Scratch. Two guys started in August 2017 with 11 handicaps, and they gave themselves about fifteen months (end of November 2018) to get to scratch. Short story: they didn’t (I think the lowest either of them got was a 5.6), but it inspired me.
    In the past week or so, I’ve decided to start my OWN quest, but it’s not to get to scratch. My goal: to get a single-digit handicap by next golf season (which will start probably around mid-February). My handicap is currently 14.5 and trending down, so I’m already going in the right direction. 
    I sat down with my dad the other day and I talked with him about my quest. His thoughts were the same as mine: that this is a realistic goal, but as he’s said multiple times, I need to practice. And he’s right. If I don’t practice, the chances of achieving a single-digit handicap are low. So my brother and I have devised a plan. Here it is:
    On the days I’m off work (usually three days a week), I’m going to play, if I can. The days I work are going to be my practice days. I usually work from about noon to close, so starting with two days a week, I’m going to head to the range early in the morning (I was thinking around 8:00) and hit a bucket of balls, working on some things that I’ve listed below. Then I’m going to go to the practice green and do the same thing. 
    Now, here are some things I feel that I need to work on:
    1. I need/want to get rid of my slice. It’s not at the point where I’m slicing it OB, and it’s gotten better, but I’d like to get to the point where I can trust my driver off the tee. I’m going to start playing some longer yardages (more about that in a bit), and driver needs to come out of the bag more than it is right now.
    2. I want to dial in distance control with wedges. This applies to pretty much any shot where I’m taking a partial swing, including chips and pitches. In fact, I did a little bit of chipping/wedge practice at work with a coworker (don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I work at a golf course), and I was not thrilled with the results.
    The last two are big ones:
    3. Lag putting from 30+ feet. I’m pretty solid from about 20 feet and in, but my long lag putts are kinda sucking right now and I’d like to change that. Remember all the way back at the beginning of the year when I said I wanna limit three putts to one or two a round, if that? Yeah, this is pretty much that except way more specific.
    4. The mental game, particularly premature thoughts. When I’m having a good round, my teenage mind loves to fast forward to the possibility of a super low round. And then, boom! What could’ve been a low 80s or even a 70s round turns into something in the mid 80s, and what could’ve been mid 80s turns into high 80s or even low 90s. When I shot my personal best last summer (80), I was able to keep those thoughts from forming. I want that again, except every time.
    Tomorrow morning, my brother and I have a 10:20 tee time at Stoney Creek. Tuesday, I’m planning to go to the range and work on what I mentioned. Of course, I’ll go more into detail in future posts, but this is all I have for now. I’m planning on posting once a week for now, but we’ll see how it goes! 
  2. dagolfer18

    Regionals!
    Sorry for posting so late as regionals was over a week ago, but I’ve finally got a good time block to write this! Regionals was last Monday, and it was a fun day of golf! Talking in the hotel room the night before, we came to the conclusion that to have a chance to advance to states, I’d have to shoot around 80. Given the way I was hitting the ball in our two rounds the previous two days, that wasn’t out of the picture. It would be difficult, yes, but not out of reach.
    However, on the front nine I shot myself out of that possibility. I went +7 through five holes, meaning I had to par out. Not good, but I went +3 on the last four holes on the side to shoot 46 on what we considered to be the easier nine holes. My goal now: to break 90. I needed 43, definitely reasonable. I started with a bogey on possibly the toughest hole on the side, but then as we prepared to tee off on the eleventh, the weather horn went off.
    As we waited, I caught up with my teammates and learned that they shot 39, 40 and 45. Knowing we needed around a 320 total to advance, we were just about out of it. All the more reason to go for it on the last eight holes.
    When we resumed play again, I laced my tee shot down the middle, then hit a 9I to about 20 feet and two putted with ease. Then I hit my tee shot OB on the 12th, but still walked off with a double. Nothing interesting happened on the next four holes, but I went +2 in that stretch, meaning I stood on the tee of the par-3 17th needing just two bogeys for 89. The good news: the last hole was a par 5. It wasn’t long, either, at only 517 yards. But I had to get through 17 first.
    With a 6I in hand, I hit my tee shot into the right bunker. I was still feeling good, because I’d been in four other bunkers and had little to no trouble in any of em. But on this one, I caught almost all ball and nailed it twenty yards over the green. Now I had to get up and down for bogey. I didn’t, but I nearly chipped in for par. Double bogey, and now I needed par on the short but difficult par 5 18th for 89. In the distance, I saw a gallery of about 30 people by the green, consisting of my teammates and the other people who’d finished before me (not that many, because I was only the fourth group). 
    For the first time all day, nerves got the better of me and I pulled my tee shot into the trees. But I had caught it so purely that I was still even with the other two guys in my group, who had also hit solid tee shots. I only had about 250 in, with two options: attempt to carry the water on the left (probably a 200-yard carry), with a great birdie opportunity and par almost a certainty if I made it but double almost certain if I missed, or a layup to the right to around 120 out where birdie is much less a possibility, but double is almost off the table.
    After taking a while to think about it, weighing the odds, I chose to lay up with a 6I to the right. Caught it a little heavy, but still had around 135 to the green. I chose a 9I and hit it just about as solid as I could have. I didn’t see exactly where I ended up, but I heard clapping, so I knew it was good. Walking up to the green, I was right: just off the green with about 20 feet left for birdie. My last test was to just two putt for par. I lagged up to within a foot, and my last shot of the 2021 golf season was a tap in par putt for 89.
    We then moved to the scoreboard to enter in our scores, and I saw that my teammates had shot 78, 89 and 91. A 347 total, far from what we needed to make it. But Brycen, who had shot the 78, was still in contention to make it as an individual. We went to get some lunch, awaiting the final scores. By the time the last group made it to the final tee, he was in third place (top four individuals advance), so unless two of the last three beat him, he was in. Ten minutes later, it was official: our number one player on the team made it to the state competition. We all wanted him to make it badly, so we were all happy for him!
    In fact, since I wrote this so late, the state competition was actually yesterday. He played at Longleaf in Pinehurst, and I was able to keep track of him through the app we used for regionals. He started well: only one over through six holes. But he started to struggle a bit on the last twelve holes, and finished with 83. Not great for him, but he’s still thrilled to have made it that far. A good ending to our golf season!
    I will probably make one more entry to this blog later this week, which will outline what I imagine will happen next season, but unless something else crops up, this is the last entry where I’ll go into detail about competition rounds. But of course, if you have any questions for me feel free to ask. Hope y’all enjoyed this blog!
  3. dagolfer18

    Conference Championship!
    The conference championship was yesterday, and it was a fun time, especially considering we were playing for a spot in regionals (we were second before the championship, and two teams advance to regionals), and I was playing for a spot in All Conference (top ten qualify for All Conference, I was somewhere between 8th and 12th, so I was close going in). We were so far ahead of third place that advancing to regionals seemed like a formality, so I was mainly focused on All Conference, which I said was one of my golf goals for this year. I wanted it badly. I had a feeling that if I shot 85, it would be enough.
    Nine teams showed up, so we had a shotgun start all around the front nine. We would play the front twice from the white tees, and the fourth hole, usually a 478-yard par 5, would be moved to the red tees and we’d play it as a 345-yard par 4, meaning par would be 70. Lucky me, I was the second group off the first tee. 
    On my first nine holes, not a lot happened. The highlight was on the tough fifth hole, where I bombed my driving iron all the way down to the bottom of the hill (about 270 to that point), and only had a mere sand wedge in. I hit it to about six feet and barely missed the birdie putt for a tap-in par.
    Other than that, I had a double (hole 4) and the rest bogeys for a 44. Not terrible, but I knew another 44 wouldn’t be good enough for All Conference. I had just missed a one-foot par putt on the ninth hole, and I was just hoping that if I did miss, it wouldn’t be by one shot.
    Nonetheless, I knew I needed to shoot 41 at worst my second nine to have a chance. It started well, with a nice five-footer for par on the first and a driving iron down the middle of the second fairway. I had about 140 to a front pin, so I chose to hit a smooth 8I. Chunked it and left myself 100 in. I was thinking, “Okay, just hit this on the green, two putt for a five and move on. This isn’t a big deal.”
    Except then I thinned that over the green and into a near impossible spot in the trees. Now I was gonna be lucky to make five. My coach came over and told me to punch a 6I under the trees and run it up. I took the advice, and landed it exactly where he told me to. I put the club back in the back and grabbed my putter, knowing I had a chance to save a bogey.  Except I wouldn’t get that chance. Five seconds later, it went in. For par. Everyone around the second green went ballistic, including me! Staring a double bogey straight in the face, I made one of the craziest par saves I’ve ever had, sidestepping what could’ve been a complete meltdown.
    Still a little giddy standing on the third tee, I composed myself long enough to hit the third green and two putt for my third par in a row. Now I just needed to bogey in for 41. But then I tripled four and bogeyed five. Now I needed two pars in the last four holes. Taking out my driving iron again, I split the sixth fairway and hit a wedge to four feet, but on a weird slope. Not wanting to do anything crazy, I hit it kinda softly. It dove sharply right, but I had a tap in par. Standing on the seventh tee, I realized that because three teams were represented in my threesome and only two would be going to regionals, at least one of us was about to play our last three holes of the season.
    I made an easy par on the seventh hole, lipping out a birdie putt, and then I three-putted for bogey on eight. The last hole is a short par 5, and I needed just a bogey for 85, but a little voice in the back of my head told me I needed par. I was safely on in three and about seven feet out, a legit birdie chance. Again I barely missed, and another tap in for par. I had shot 84 and beat my number by a shot, but now all I could do was wait and see whether I made All Conference. We finished with a team score of 323, with a low score of three-over 73, meaning the team chasing us had to go sub-300. One of the guys had just turned in a 94, but then someone else came in with a head-turning round. He apparently shot 34 on his front nine, but then went on a birdie binge. His back nine score: 30. A total of 64, six under par, and I believe the lowest score anyone in our conference has ever turned in for a high school match.
    They didn’t finish sub-300, meaning we had sealed a spot in regionals, but they did finish at 318, good enough to claim the championship. Then it was time to announce the All Conference standings. Top ten qualify, and it was announced that there was a three-way tie for tenth. My name was among the three. Since there was no playoff, I had qualified for All Conference! 
    Later, I realized that my chip-in on the second hole was absolutely critical. If I had not chipped in, I would not have made All Conference. It didn’t matter to me that I finished tied for the last spot, because I made it, and that was my goal for the season. Now it’s off to regionals in a week and a half!!
  4. dagolfer18

    Match Day #3
    Never did my anylasis of our last match, so I guess I’ll do it now. 😃
    The first 18-hole match was Thursday, and I’ll just say this: it wasn’t near the level of success we had on Tuesday. Not terrible by any means, but definitely not great. The course we played, Kerr Lake Country Club, wasn’t in fantastic shape, but it was a fun layout that kinda made up for the condition. We played the white tees (just under 6200 yards), so all yardages I note are from there. I’ll do another hole by hole anylasis, and because the second hole was my starting hole, I’ll start there!
    No. 2; Par 4, 291 yds. A solid 5H to the center of the fairway, slightly heavy pitch shot short, barely missed my par putt. +1
    No. 3; Par 3, 157 yds. A par 3 over water. Not ideal. I hit a slightly thin 7I that came up about ten feet short, then hit a solid chip and again, barely missed the par putt. +2
    No. 4; Par 4, 392 yds. Solid drive to about 170 out, misclubbed and came up short again, but I hit a nice pitch shot and made the five-footer for par. +2
    No. 5; Par 4, 380 yds. My first shot was a well-struck driver, but I pulled it a bit and hit it OB. My next shot was another solid driver that this time found the center of the fairway. I chunked a 6I then chunked a wedge, so I had to chip in to avoid maxing out at triple bogey. A good chip to four feet, but not good enough. +5
    No. 6; Par 5, 442 yds. I popped up a 3W slightly but still down the middle. Two solid 7I shots later I was just short of the green. Another solid chip shot, but missed the par putt. +6
    No. 7; Par 4, 376 yds. I missed my 3W tee shot right, but I had a shot if I could fade an 8I around the tree in front of me. I pulled the shot off and found myself on the front of the green, but 40 feet out. Still a pretty darn good shot from where I was. I hit a good lag putt to about three feet, but my par putt did almost a full 360 round the lip and popped out. +7
    No. 8; Par 3, 149 yds. It didn’t play this long because of a slight downhill slope and a front pin. I thinned a 9I, took two to get out and two putted. +9
    No. 9; Par 4, 368 yds. I hit a solid drive but a bit left, and again I had a tree in my way. Couldn’t get it over, but it still finished just short, in good position. I took a while to determine what I was gonna hit for my pitch shot but decided on my 54 degree. I had the right club, hitting it to three feet. A good stroke, but it slid past the right edge. +10
    No. 10; Par 5, 493 yds. Ugh. A messy hole. I lost my ball in the water off the tee, then dropped and hit my third to within 100 yards. I chunked another wedge and hit another chip within ten feet. Knowing it was almost a must-make, I missed the putt and settled for double. +12
    No. 11; Par 3, 189 yds. This is where my round got interesting. Playing over water, into the wind, I hit a solid 4H just short of the green and managed a solid up-and-down, sinking about a four-footer. +12
    No. 12; Par 4, 325 yds. A short hole and a good opportunity to get another par. I put myself in position A by hitting it down the left side, but chunked another 8I short. My bump-and-run chip came up short as well, and I needed to make a five-footer to save bogey. Barely missed it on the low side. +14
    No. 13; Par 4, 383 yds. A fairly straightforward but narrow hole. I decided on the 3W and hit a bit of push-fade, nearly into the trees. I did have a shot, and I hit it just short, in good position. I hit another good chip (chipping was pretty on-point today), but missed another makeable putt. +15
    No. 14; Par 4, 367 yds. Given that there was water pinching the fairway about 220 from the tee, I chose the driver. Bombed it and only had about 120 in. Tried to take a little off a PW because it was downwind, but I somehow airmailed it over the green. Yet another solid chip to about three feet, and I made the putt. +15
    No. 15; Par 3, 167 yds. Normally a 6I for me, but it was again downwind, so I felt confidently pulled 7I. I pured it, and it finished just on the back fringe, about fifteen feet out. Not wanting to do anything crazy with the downhill putt, I lagged it within two feet and happily took par. +15
    No. 16; Par 5, 501 yds. A weird hole, so I was just playing for position here. Pushed my tee ball slightly and had to punch out. Still, I was able to get within 130 laying two. Then the most disappointing shot of the round came. I flubbed it into the creek, not ten yards in front of me. I had to drop, and I was honestly lucky to save double bogey, having to make a ten-footer to save it. +17
    No. 17; Par 4, 364 yds. Another pushed drive that also faded, and I had to punch out again. My pitch shot caught a horrendous bounce, and I was still short of the green laying three. I failed at this up and down, again grazing the edge. Back to back doubles. +19
    No. 18; Par 4, 334 yds. Two holes to play, both reasonable scoring opportunities (finished on the par-5 first hole). I regrouped after the last two holes and nailed my tee shot, barely trickling into the rough. On the approach, I fixed my gaze on the flagstick and nothing else, and my shot was all over it, finishing just six feet out. I hit another solid putt, but it didn’t drop. Tapped in for par on probably my best hole of the day. +19
    No. 1; Par 5, 507 yards. My goal at the start of the day was to shoot 90 or better. That was by no means out of reach, needing birdie here for 90. My 5W tee shot finished just in the left rough, so I decided to lay up with a 7I. Middle of the fairway, 110 out, only grass between my ball and the pin. I hit a smooth PW slightly left, but I got a good kick off a mound and rolled onto the green, about 20 feet out. Wanting birdie now, I rolled my putt about four feet past, and then I missed that one and tapped in for bogey. +20
    So, the final score is a 92. Definitely could’ve been better, because I lost some strokes off the tee, but because my short game was solid, it could’ve also been worse. I parred a few tough holes (holes 4, 11 and 15 in particular) where I could’ve easily made a bogey or worse, so overall I wasn’t too disappointed. 
    My short game was solid in this match, with several chips within ten feet and a handful within five. As far as putting goes, I feel that it was just one of those days where my stroke felt good and I hit a lot of good putts, but nothing was dropping. A lot of them touched the lip of the cup too.
    My brother and one other teammate split this round in two, and my brother played the back nine. My first teammate was off the first tee, and she posted 58, which is a pretty solid number by her standards. Then my brother took over, and he shot 53 on the tougher back nine, making their total 111.
    As a team, we did okay, but nobody broke 80. We had an 80, an 83, a 92 (me) and a 93. But what’s weird is that it’s going to count as two separate nine-hole scores. This match will be scored one of two ways: either our eight nine-hole scores will be added together, or the four from the front and the four from the back will be added. Regardless, our four 18-hole totals make 348, equivalent to a 174 for nine holes. For us, that’s borderline. Definitely not good, but not exactly horrible.
    One team we were playing against on Thursday is in our conference, and to be honest, they shouldn’t have showed up to play. One of their four players had to drop out, meaning they came to the match with only three players. You need four to post a score. What that means for them is that for two of their eight nine hole scores, they need to take the maximum of triple bogey on every hole. Twenty-seven over par. They need to take two 63s as nine hole scores, meaning they are now 30 strokes behind us after coming into the match ten strokes up. Because we only have 18 holes to play before regionals, their chances of catching up to us are slim and none.
    As of right now, I believe we are still in second place, but the team ahead of us (not the same team that we played against last Thursday) won’t play their third match until tomorrow, so that could change. We only have 18 holes to play before regionals, and the good news is that we’re going back to our home course, and we’re playing the easier front nine twice. But there’s a kicker.
    If five or less teams show up to play next Tuesday, only one team will advance to regionals. If six teams or more play, two will advance. There is one team that is unsure of whether or not they will play in the last match. If they show up, six teams will play and two will advance. If they don’t, five will play and only one will advance. We are pretty much assured of second place now, but we need to play well if we’re going to finish first.
    Because it’s our home course, we will take this week in practice to figure out exactly how we want the course to be playing, setting it up to our advantage. I will report back here at the end of this week (not near as long a post as this one was!) and give some more details!
  5. dagolfer18

    Match Day #2
    There is honestly a lot to say about our match today. As you’ll see later, we made a really good run today! Now to the round.
    I hit range balls beforehand, and from my very first shot (a striped 8I), I could tell today was going to be a good day. Good shot after good shot on the range, and I was building confidence with each one. After putting for about 20 minutes, and hitting some really good putts, I was ready. I’ll do a hole by hole analysis. Yardages from the tees we played, but the fourth hole, a 478-yard par 5, was played from the red tees, and we made it a 345-yard par 4. Here we go!
    No. 1; Par 4, 365 yards. After hitting some draws with hybrids on the range, I pulled the 5H and played the draw. Played it perfectly, and I got some great roll, finishing a few paces from the 100-yard marker. I hit a nice gap wedge that landed on the green and stopped about 20 feet out. Two putted for par. E
    No. 2; Par 4, 337 yards. Despite being a driver hole, I decided on a 3 wood for my tee shot. Heeled it a bit, and I was only able to get about 190 out of it. I hit an 8I for my approach, and it finished just short of the green. After I gave my chip a bit too much gas, 15 feet long, I two putted for bogey. +1
    No. 3; Par 3, 140 yards. Wind in our face, so I tried about an 85% 8I. As soon as I hit the ball, the wind died. But I hit it well, and it landed on the back of the green and rolled off. I hit a bump-and-run 6I back up the slope and about ten feet past. Another two putt. +2
    No. 4; Par 4, 345 yards. This was the narrowest tee shot on the course, and I chose a 5 wood for my tee shot. Down the middle, leaving me with about 170 in for my second shot. I hit a really nice 6I that finished pin-high, 12 feet right of the hole. Then I made a solid two-putt par. +2
    No. 5; Par 4, 377 yards. Never a driver hole for me, I decided on a 3 wood. Well struck, but a bit left and I didn’t really have a shot to the green. So I hit a chippy 6I that stopped about 85 yards out. Green light distance for me. With the coach watching, I hit my best shot of the day, a 54 degree with a ton of spin, and it landed on the front of the green and bit hard two feet from the hole. Easy cleanup for what is easily one of my top-five par saves. +2
    No. 6; Par 4, 303 yards. Fueled by momentum, I pounded my drive down the left center of the fairway, the perfect angle from which to approach. With wind in my face, I took a little off a PW and hit another very solid shot, about 15 feet long. A tough downhill putt, but I two-putted for my third straight par with minimal trouble. +2
    No. 7; Par 3, 150 yards. With a back pin, I decided on another 8I for this one. Another well struck shot, but a slight miss to the left, and it didn’t come back. It hit the slope left of the green and kicked hard until it finished near some roots a good seven feet below the level of the green. I did well to keep my shot on the putting surface, and another two putt later I had my bogey. +3
    No. 8; Par 4, 318 yards. With about 170 yards to the stake in the middle of the fairway, I chose a 6I. It drew again, and I got another very friendly bounce. I was less than 100 yards out. I hit another slightly heavy shot that finished in the bunker, but thank my luck that we were playing them as ground under repair. After the drop, I had a shortsided chip, which now had to go over the bunker. I hit a nippy little 54 degree that landed on the front and trickled to about four feet. Barely missed that one, tapped in for a five. +4
    No. 9; Par 5, 444 yards. It was at this point I realized I was only four over. I was in such a zone that I was able to block out all distractions, and unlike many other times, this did little to change that. I pounded my tee shot, nearly taking the tree on the left completely out of play. I was thinking about going for it, but eventually chose to lay up with an 8I. Still sort of unsure about whether that was the best play, I chunked it.
    I still only had about 110 in, but with nerves slowly taking over, I thinned my PW third shot over the green and into some pine straw. My ball was also resting against some pine cones, but I didn’t move them for fear that my ball would move as well. I managed to hit another really solid chip shot that finished about five feet out. Now very aware that I had that par putt for a 39, I rolled it in. +4
    Final score was a four-over 39, and despite having a few lower nines (a two over 38 and a few 39s that were three over), I considered this one the finest nine hole round I’ve ever played, having made nothing over a bogey and with crucial saves on the fifth and ninth holes.
    Our team effort was also outstanding, one of the best, if not the best, we’ve ever had. In addition to my 39, we had a 38 from our no. 1 player, another 39 from the no. 2 player, and a 41 from our no. 3 player, making for a total of 157. Good news for us was that the team we needed to gain ground on shot a total 190, with two 46s as their low scores. A 33-stroke swing that we desperately needed.
    The day before, the coach predicted that we needed 156 to catch the leaders. He was very close. As far as we know, we’ve shot from fourth place and absolutely nowhere to second place, only four strokes behind. 153 would've done the job. With two 18-hole matches to play, we’re right back in the game.
    We also got word that as of today, only one team is going to regionals, but we’re not worried about that now. Momentum is with us, and we’re looking to ride it all 18 holes on Thursday!
  6. dagolfer18

    Big Week Ahead
    We’ve got a big week ahead of us. I believe there are only three matchesT left this season (two 18-hole matches), and two of them are this week. We’ve got a home match on Tuesday, and an 18-hole away match at Kerr Lake on Thursday. 
    As I said in my last entry, the top two teams go to regionals. We are now 4th in the standings (by how much, no idea), so we’ve got some work to do. Our plan for this week until Thursday:
    Weekend: Hit some balls into my net at home. Haven’t been able to get to the course at all this past week because unfortunately, my youngest brother tested positive and we’re in our last day of quarantine (I’ve been tested twice, and thankfully both came back negative).
    Monday: Team practice. May do some extra range work after official practice is over to prep for Tuesday.
    Tuesday: Match day! Home course at Umstead Pines, so I’ve gotta put up a good score. I would definitely like to shoot around 40, but I’m gonna need at least a 42 or 43 to help the team.
    Wednesday: Since official team practices are only Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, what we do is up to us. Depending on what happens in the match Tuesday, I may try to get some range work in. If I play well, I’ll take Wednesday off or maybe do some stuff at home.
    Thursday: First 18-hole match of the season. This one’s at a completely unfamiliar track, so I’ll probably look it over on Google Maps or something to get a feel for it. But I need another good round to gain ground on all conference, but more importantly, our team standings.
    If we don’t gain any ground this week and at least move up to third place, our chances are basically done unless we go lights out at the Conference Championship on the 20th, also at our home course. I’ll report back on Tuesday night with results!
  7. dagolfer18

    Match #1
    The first match was yesterday, and we all felt good about our games. So we pulled up to The Preserve at Jordan Lake with high hopes. After a good range session and a solid 15 minutes of putting, we began. It was shotgun start, and the seed you played determined the hole you started on. Because I played No. 4 on our team, I’d start on the fourth hole. We played the white tees, scorecard below:

    Actually a pretty solid start, although I did three-putt the fourth green. After a par on the next, I missed a short par putt on the sixth after a good chip. The seventh was a fun hole. An ultra short par 4, you could try and drive the green if you wanted to (probably a 250 carry from the whites) but you had to hit it perfect and carry it all the way. If you chose to lay up, as most people should, a solid mid-long iron to the center of the fairway leaves a wedge over a creek.
    Nobody in my foursome tried that, and we all hit solid irons (I chose a 7) to varying points in the fairway. I had just over 100 yards in, so I chose a wedge. But, as I’ve been doing lately, I chunked it . So badly, in fact, that it stayed in play. Knocked a wedge over the green from there, duffed a chip and had to make a long putt to save six.
    The eighth was another interesting hole. You can see it’s a long par 4 for pretty much everyone. I didn’t quite get all of my driver and had almost exactly 200 in. Chunked that, and then hit another poor wedge that led to the six you see on the card. Two ho-hum bogeys later, I stepped up to another longish par 4, the second hole. Trying to muscle up on it a bit, I pulled it left and lost the ball. I made a five with my second ball.
    On our last hole, the third, the tees were up, and it played around 130 instead of the 168 it says on the card. I hit 9I and jit it right at the pin. But I caught it slightly a on the heel, and it came up about two feet short and rolled down a little slope. Still no problem getting up and down I thought. Trying to putt it, the ball hit something that was apparently right in front of my ball and it bounced a bit but still finished on the green, about 15 feet out. As you can see, I two putted from there.
    I didn’t note the total, but that adds up to 48. I thought my chances of All Conference were shot. But when we got back to the clubhouse and I saw the other scores, I realized that this course played pretty difficult for everyone. In fact, only two people broke 40, the medalist coming in at 36. Both players who broke 40 were on the same team, and they had a 168 total. Second place ended up with 175. We were third, coming in at 180. We had a 40, a 44 and two 48s. Definitely not our best work.
    That night, we got an announcement that two teams would go to regionals. Given that we’re only five strokes behind second place, we still have a pretty solid chance (five strokes isn’t that difficult to make up, with four out of the team’s five scores being posted). 
    I believe that I still have a shot at All Conference, needing to place in the top 12, but I can’t have any more 48s. Everyone gets to throw out one of their nine hole scores, and the rest are totaled to determine the top twelve. 
    I also received some more good news from the coach: that the course we played yesterday would be the toughest we’ll play this season, with the exception of regionals, which is always played on a difficult course, and from a longer yardage (normal matches are usually between 2800 and 3100 for nine holes, between 5700 and 6100 for eighteen, and regionals are around 6400-6500). 
    Overall, I believe wedged killed me the most, costing two strokes at least. I was pretty good with irons and off the tee, having only missed one fairway out of seven. I putted pretty well with the exception of one hole, so it could’ve been worse. Looking forward to the next match! 
  8. dagolfer18

    Golf
    Alright y’all! The 2021 golf season has already begun, but the first match is on Tuesday. Here’s how it works this year:
    •There are six teams in our conference, and either one or two teams will advance to regionals. That much is still unclear.
    •Last year, six players from each team played in matches. This year, only five are playing. I’m playing the 4th seed in our team. My brother unfortunately did not make the starting lineup. It was close, but he missed.
    •I still don’t know how many conference matches there are, but I’m seeing only four on the schedule as of today. Three nine hole matches, two eighteen hole matches, plus the 18-hole Conference Championship. Our coach says he’s gonna try to work in one or two more matches.
    •At the end of the season, the top twelve players in scoring average will make All Conference. This is what I want so badly, and based off the current schedule, I’ve only got 63 holes to decide that. I just need a good start come Tuesday.
    I’m looking forward to what could be my last shot at going to regionals (all our good players this year are seniors). I’m planning on a brief post in What’d You Shoot Today, and then going more in-depth here. I’ll also do a post here at the end of each week. Looking forward to the season! 
  9. dagolfer18
    As I just posted in “What’d You Shoot Today?”, my brother played his first full eighteen in a while. Well, I say full eighteen, but he didn’t exactly play the entire round. He quit on a few holes and didn’t play the last hole. He dropped at my ball when he lost a ball. As I’ve mentioned several times, he wants to be on the team. Keep those details in mind.
    The reason why I mention this: he was texting with our grandpa after the round (our grandpa loves to hear about our rounds), and when he was asked what he shot, he said a number that caught me off guard a bit. That number was 103. 103!!! In reality, the way he was hitting the ball, he probably wouldn’t have been within ten shots of that. When I asked him why he said that, his answer was almost laughable. He said, “103 is a good score for me.” He’s been known to fudge his score like this before.
    So, my question is, what do I do here? If this continues, and he actually does it in a match, what appears next to his name on the scoreboard will not be a number. It’ll be a DQ.
  10. dagolfer18
    Here’s the first real post in this newly edited blog. As I’ve mentioned, my brother wants to be on the team with me next semester. He’s taken the initiative to want to practice, and he went by himself yesterday and hit a bucket of balls. From what I’ve heard, he didn’t hit them great, but I’m glad he’s starting to practice.
    We’ve got a new practice plan that revolves around our school schedule. On days when we’re meeting with teachers via Zoom (Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday), we’re going to practice, since neither of us will be done until around 4:00. Wednesday and Friday are play days, and we’ll play in the afternoon. What we do on the weekend is our choice.
    I think with this practice schedule, we will both see progress in the first two weeks. I’ll get back in the 80s after my drought of 90s scores, and he’ll probably get around 105 or 110 for eighteen holes. 
  11. dagolfer18
    Here’s a new blog post that I’m hoping to keep going. As some of you may know, I have a younger brother (he’s 14 now) who’s shown an increasing amount of interest in golf. He didn’t come to the course much with me in the summer, which I think is mainly because of the heat. He doesn’t like being in the heat for a ton of time or sweating a lot, which I tried to explain to him several times that if he ends up making the team, our coach is gonna want him playing tournaments over the summer.But now that it’s getting cooler, he’s starting to accompany me to the course more.
    He just played nine with me today, and it wasn’t great, but not terrible. What I like is that he’s playing the white tees with me. He’s been doing that for a while, and he’s gotten quite used to it. The tees he plays usually depends on who he’s playing with. If our grandpa is playing, my brother will play the tees my grandpa plays, usually the gold/green tees (most of the courses I play go blue/white/gold/red or gold/blue/white/green/red). But if he’s playing with me, he’ll play whatever tees I play, usually the whites.
    He wants to be on the high school team with me next semester, but he’s got a bit of work to do. We’re gonna have seven players this year, and only six are allowed to go to a match. We’ve got two guys who are shooting in the 30s consistently, and they’ve guaranteed themselves the top two spots. Then we have three (one of whom is me) who shoot in the 40s. Then there’s my bro and the coach’s daughter, who shoot in the 50s. She’s his main competition. I want to get him to the point where a 54 is an average/okay round for him, and his good (not great) days on the links are high 40s.
    Right now, a high 40s score is a red-letter day for him, in the same way a 40/high 30s score is a red-letter day for me. A 55-60 is average for him, although that’s when I kept his score. He asks me to keep his score, but then he makes a seven or eight on the opening hole and tells me to stop keeping his score. Technically, he can pick up at triple bogey, because we play triple bogey maximum in every match except for regionals (and states, if we get that far).
    So here’s what I’m thinking: I know my mom and dad want him on the team too. My teammates and coach want him on the team. I want him to come to the course with me once or twice a week when I go. Sometimes when he wants to go but doesn’t want to play, he’ll practice while I play. He doesn’t have to play all the time, and I don’t want him to feel that way. But when he does play, I want to keep his score just to monitor his progress. I just want him to come to the course with me and at least practice. This is his only chance to really get to know the other guys. Apart from me and the coach’s daughter, the other guys are seniors. The coach said he’d be willing to coach just the three of us in my senior year, but I’m not gonna put a lot of hope in that just yet.
    So what do y’all think I should do? I think I’ve got a pretty good plan, but I want to know what y’all think. I think we could get him ready in six months.
  12. dagolfer18
    Sorry I wasn’t able to post in this blog the past two weeks, but I wasn’t really able to do too much due to the weather being crappy here in Durham. But I’m keeping it going this week with some good news. I think I’m turning my game around.
    My ballstriking and chipping have been excellent this week, leading to scores of 90, 46 (nine holes), and a 94 today (with a 42 on the difficult back nine). I’ve hit several good shots from 130+ yards, including a dart I hit yesterday and a 7I to six feet today. 
    Putting, however, has been a different story. It wasn’t too bad on Monday, but I had 19 putts yesterday, including two missed 2-footers. I missed a few more short ones today, especially on the front nine. I did turn it around on the back, making a few clutch 5-footers: one for par, one for bogey, but yesterday was concerning regarding putting.
    Putting has been the only shaky part of my game this week, which I need to get fixed before a tournament on the 15th. But I think I’m starting to get better. Ballstriking has been proof of that. Looking forward to next week!
  13. dagolfer18
    I managed to get in three rounds this week, improving my score each time: a 97 on Monday (44-53), a 96 on Wednesday (48-48) and a 94 on Thursday (50-44).
    Chipping/pitching was rock solid this week, which I was pleased to see. I hit a lot of my <50-yard chips/pitches inside ten feet, and a handful of those inside five, including a chip in. Easily the best part of my game as of right now.
    I feel a little less confident about tee shots. I did have some really good ones, but there was at least one per round that I sprayed. One OB, and two water-bound shots. I did hit at least half the fairways every round, but those sprays are a little concerning. I normally don’t spray it.
    Next up, iron play. Iron play was, at my best, 7/10. At worst, it was about a 3/10. Contact was my main problem, mostly ugly chunks. I’m looking to improve that when I get in front of my net later today.
    Lastly, bunker play. I hit two truly good bunker shots out of, say, ten. Most of my bad bunker shots are when I leave my first one in the trap. Unfortunately, that’s the only part of my game that I can’t really practice, because the range is closed, and our practice bunker is part of the range.
    So overall, there were several things I found that need fixing, with iron play my main focus. I’m gonna practice today and tomorrow, and then start with a fresh week on Monday.
  14. dagolfer18
    I’ve been practicing quite a bit (mainly chipping and putting) over the past week, but unfortunately I’ve only gotten to play once, which was today. For the most part, I’m very pleased with how it worked out. Here’s the scorecard:
         PAR: 4-4-3-5-4-4-3-4-5—36
    SCORE: 4-4-3-6-4-5-4-5-5—40
    As I mentioned on What’d You Shoot Today, conditions got tough starting on hole 4. We had at least a one-club wind, maybe two. I think I handled it well under those conditions (started on hole 4, played +4 for the last six holes). Lost a few shots, which will be explained below, but fairly happy with the round. I could’ve honestly shot 38 or even lower today, if not for all these little mistakes I made:
    Hole 4: After two shots, I was about 95 yards out, just in the rough, with a good angle to attack the pin. I flew 25 feet over it with a gap wedge and then three-putted for a disappointing bogey. I feel like despite being a mid handicapper, I should be making par at worst from 100 yards (assuming it’s my second shot on a par 4 or third shot on a par 5).
    Hole 6: Basically the same as above, except I was ten yards closer to the green. I top-pulled a wedge on the second shot (which I never do) and then hit a chip to 15 feet that was, to me, mediocre at best. The worst part is the pin was smack in the middle of the green.
    Hole 8: Another poor chip, this time to just 25 feet, resulting in another bogey.
    Hole 9: With the strong wind with me on this short par 5, I hit my two best shots of the day: a 3W to the middle of the fairway, then a textbook 6I to the middle of the green, about 20 feet from the pin. I then three-putted. That’s definitely in my top five most disappointing moments in golf: hitting a green under regulation, then making par.
    Thing is, that’s the third time I’ve done it on that hole. I’ve hit the green in two four times on that hole (twice this year), and three times I’ve walked off with a par.
    Short game is better, but still not where I want it to be. However, ballstriking, especially with irons, has remained the best and most consistent part of my game. I’m gonna practice tomorrow and Sunday, mainly because it’s near impossible to make a tee time on weekends now, and play two or three days next week. I feel that my game is trending in the right direction, but I just need everything to click.
  15. dagolfer18
    Today rounds off a solid week of golf, with scores of 95-90-92. I’m getting so close to consistent scores under 90, but I need to figure out what I need to work on. Today, I’ll evaluate my game over the last three playing days, and give each category (Woods/Hybrids, Irons, Short Game, Putting) a letter grade.
    Woods/Hybrids: B. The driver is bringing the overall grade down. I’m slowly but surely getting rid of the slice, but it continues to haunt me every now and then, and when it fade, it sometimes does so more than I’d like. The range at my home course is closed, so I’d love to find another way to work on the driver.
    Irons (6-PW): B+. Contact with my irons has been excellent this week, but direction is off a bit. Alignment is the only thing I really need to work on in this category.
    Short Game: A. Aside from bunker play, my short game (not including putting) has been outstanding this week. Once the range opens up again, I’ll get in the practice bunker and work my bunker play. That’s the one area of my game where I have little to no confidence.
    Putting: D. I am not at all pleased with my putting this week. Lag putting has been inconsistent, I’ve hit more bad lag putts than good ones. 4- and 5-footers have definitely been shaky, and those short ones have often been the result of poor lag putts. I even three-putted from six feet once. That’ll be the first thing I work on when I go back to the course.
    Overall, putting is the main thing I want to work on when I get back to the course. I feel like improving my putting alone, as bad as it was, will take three strokes, at least, off my rounds. I will put in new entries once a week, every Friday. If you want more, let me know!
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