The day I have been anticipating for a year finally arrived. We got to the course early to give us plenty of time to warm up as the range is rather small. I was playing the River course and starting with no 15 in the shotgun start. My playing partners are Marc and Jay, both from the Chicago area. We were the second group on 15 so we watched the first group tee off. One giant slice, one duffed shot and a one decent swing and they are off. I think in some ways it helps me see other players struggle on the first tee and it makes me loosen up a bit. In our turn I swing driver and get one in the fairway. My approach was left and nestled down in some thick grass. Unfortunately it took two chips to get on and a one putt later, I bogeyed the first hole. The next hole was more challenging, a long par 5 with a bunker running down the left of the fairway. My tee shot ends up in the bunker. I played a 9 iron out and misjudged how far I hit it. I ended too far right and have a tree blocking my approach. I play a wedge to hit down in the fairway, but I gave it too much and it bounced out of the fairway and into the pond protecting the green. I took a drop at 105 yards and played my 52 degree wedge. I caught it a little fat and it ended up missing the green and hitting the pond. Try it again and hit a much better shot. Two putts and I have a 9. I followed that up with a nice pitching wedge on a par 3 that I put to about 12′. I bounced back with a birdie.
After that I had a mix of bogey/doubles until I get to 7. This was par 4 uphill with a gulch to carry with about a 150 yard shot. My driver goes hard right into the trees and disappears. Next try, I hit a low burner than hits the side of the gulch. Next try, same result. I switch to a hybrid and I hit it hard left, deeper into the gulch. Finally, hitting nine on the tee I hit a shot into play. Four penalty strokes off the tee and I end with a 15.
The next hole was even harder, an elevated tee down to a fairway that runs to the right guarded by a hill that blocks some of the view. The course provides a forecaddy as it is impossible to see the landing area. In spite of the blow up on the last hole, I hit a fantastic drive and end with a bogey on the hole. On the next hole, 9, I chip in for my only par of the day.
I have one more memorable hole on no 11. This was a par 5 the runs in a semicircle with the river guarding the right side. I hit a nice drive and using my gps I see have about 175 to a bunker across the river and into the fairway. This would leave me with maybe 130 into the green. I played my 8 iron figuring this would be plenty of club to clear the river and not end up in the sand. I hit a slightly fat and splash. Drop and repeat the same thing. I change clubs (I can’t remember what my strategy was at this point) and rinse another ball. I finally get over and score a 12.
At this point I have lost 10 balls on the day and I have two left, with three holes to play. My goal was to not have to ask to borrow a ball. I managed to hold on to those 2 and posted a 112. The day was very discouraging and again I was DFL in my flight. I didn’t have anyone to blame but myself. My technique broke down hard on 3 holes. The rest of the day was decent and if not for the 9 penalty strokes I would have been close to the middle of the pack.