One More Golf Story
Sorry folks, but I’ve spent a considerable amount of my life playing this dumb game, and I’m running out of normal material.
The other day I reminisced on my one perfect day of golf where I broke 80 with a score of 78. I have had other days, twice shooting 80 on a par 72 course the equivalent of 78 on a par 70 course, but there is just something magical to a mediocre golfer to a score under 80.
So after a story on a magical day of golf I follow with a beautiful day gone bad.
Years before my perfect day, I came close to perfect. Close to perfect in golf can spell frustration of the highest magnitude. I was playing with my dad, mom and older brother Chris on a golfing vacation swing through New England.
I was having a terrific round. Not spectacular, but clean and steady. No bad shots, never in trouble, always around the hole with a chance at par.
Playing well with my dad was unusual for me.
Pop’s had a way to throw you off your game and he loved using it against me…teaching life’s lessons I guess, or maybe just looking for a competitive edge.
“Joe, don’t worry about that fairway trap, it’s at least 225 yards, no way you can reach it.”
He knew dang well I could hit the ball 240 – 250 (in the day), and of course I had to show him. Trying to give it that little extra, I would dribble a worm eater about 75 yards down the middle.
“That’s a shame!”
Anyway, on this day I ignored his mind games. By the time we reached the 18th hole I needed only a double bogey 6 to score 79, my first time breaking 80 and this was a par 72 course. The 18th was a short par 4 maybe 325 yards, dogleg left. A nice drive with a little draw would shrink the hole to about 275 yards. The way I was playing a bogey 5 should have been a lock.
My drive was lifted high, short and to the right. It was on the fairway but I did not cut off any of the dogleg. Still on my next shot I had an easy nine iron a little over 100 yards from the hole.
At this point I must explain that every golfer from a 30 handicapper (that’s bad) to Jason Day (today’s #1 pro), every golfer, has one shot in his bag that he cannot explain, but is a horrible, horrible shot. When this shot rears its ugly head, it is not a onetime deal, it sticks with you for a while. My one shot is a nine iron shank that drills the ball not high and straight, but low and on a 90 degree angle from the target.
The one shot that every golfer fears, never happens except for the worst possible time, probably because it is at that time the golfer thinks, “Please don’t show up now.”
It always does.
After shanking my second shot out of bounds and taking a stroke penalty, I shanked my next shot out of bounds, at this point I was six strokes into the hole and breaking 80 a distant memory. I finished with a nine and a final score of 82.
Pop’s had to ask after the hole, “What you get Joe?”
“Nine? That’s a shame.”