Column: Line Drives — Golf game needs some more work

[The is my column in the April 2 issue of The Commercial Review.]

I decided to take advantage of the nice weather Wednesday and go golfing.

Wait, no. Let me rephrase that.

I decided to take advantage of the nice weather on Wednesday and pay money to walk on a golf course with clubs on my back and occasionally swing at a golf ball.

I’m not the kind of person who thinks he is great at everything. I know when I’m not good at something.

Golf is one of those things.

The distances the ball traveled each time I hit it were more like winning Powerball numbers — 3, 11, 23, 34, 49.

When I wanted the ball to travel far, it went short. And when I needed a nice 20-yard chip to the green, it went 50.

My golf game needs some work.

But the only way to get better is to keep playing.

Here’s a rundown of my round of golf Wednesday on the back nine at Portland Golf Club.

Hole 10
After a few practice swings I was feeling good. I hadn’t swung a club or played a round since August, so I knew I was going to be suspect at best. My tee shot went into the drink, so I teed up another ball and went from there. Got to the green in four shots (my first tee shot didn’t count) and three-putted for a 7.

Hole 11
Tee shot sliced heavily to the right, actually landing on the fairway for the 12th hole. Put another ball on the tee, kept it straight, so I played that one. Reached the green in four shots, again three-putted for a 7. At least I’m consistent.

Hole 12
I struggle with par-5s, only because I don’t have the strength to drive the ball far. I stayed clear of the Little Salamonie River, but hardly kept the ball on the fairway. Again, reached in four, yet another three put for a 7. (There’s a trend here. Keep following.)

Hole 13
At this rate, I was likely to shoot a 6 on this short par-3. My shot from the tee box was short and to the right, I chipped onto the green about 10 feet from the hole, and two-putted for a 4. Maybe this is where my round starts to get better.

Hole 14
This is another par-5. I don’t like this hole because I’m not entirely too sure where the pin is, even with the number of times I’ve covered golf matches at PGC. So I took aim at where I thought would be a good spot. My tee shot was a routine pop fly to the pitcher; I shanked it. Like the first few holes, I put another ball on the tee and let ’er rip. Straight, on the fairway.

Why couldn’t I have done this the first time?

Three shots later I was on the green and had yet another three putt. I’m starting to think I can three putt better than anyone I know.

Hole 15
I was shooting into the sun, so judging distance was difficult. Again, I three-putted for a 6. At this point I just want to get the round over with, but also at this time I decided I was going to write this column about my round of golf.

Hole 16
I’ve seen plenty of high school golfers hit into the rough on the right, or into the creek straight ahead, so I had an idea of what not to do. But with how inconsistent I am from the tee box, I knew one of those was bound to happen. Fortunately, neither came true. I was about 20 yards in front of the creek, but just off the fairway. My second shot went long and I chipped onto the green about 2 feet from the hole.

I’m about to shoot even on this par-4!

Incorrect.

My first putt rimmed out the right side of the cup and stopped a foot from the hole.

Of course.

Sank the next one for a 5.

Hole 17
Water hazards scare me, because, as mentioned previously, I’m suspect from the tee. I think I had the ball teed up too high. My shot went straight but went high into the air.

Remember what I said about water hazards? Second shot right into the drink. After the penalty stroke I made it to the green in six and — why wouldn’t I? — three-putted for a 9.

Hole 18
One hole left. My shot from the tee was short of the green and to the right, and my chip shot went to the fringe on the far side of the green. I needed two putts to finish with a 4.

For those who were counting, I shot a soft-56. Not bad for my first time out, but that’s also not a real score.

Sure, my golf game needs some work, but no matter how good or how bad I am playing, there’s not much better than spending a day out on the golf course.

Especially on the first day of April.

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