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Monday, June 17, 2013

The Practice Round: Golf Road Trip Update

Now I know how Bubba Watson felt at the British Open when he announced to the entire world, "This course is too tough for me."

For the first 9 holes of my practice round I kept digging deep, looking for the mental best CoachDayne has assured me lurks within.  The beast declined to come out today -- too hot and humid -- until the last two holes.

I followed Darrell's advice, took my swings with authority and confidence.  But even when I struck the ball well (and you know the sound of a good strike as well as I do), the poor things ran smack into a wall of humidity and dropped out of the air in mid-flight like bird poop.  Disheartening.

The Sanctuary Golf Club is a beautiful golf course on Cat Island, outside Beaufort, SC (also near Parris Island, for my Marine readers).  Lots of marsh, lush Carolina Low Country live oaks and Spanish moss, and some tidal creeks that form challenging water hazards linger at the edge of every fairway, ecologically erotic invitations to disaster.

In other words, the course if great fun to play.  Having spent the day getting to know the place, and figure out how much to club up (or down, depending on how you count) to compensate for the effect of the humidity, I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow's round.

Still, I confess that after the 4th hole this morning, Barb and Shirley had to talk me out of withdrawing from the tournament.  But two shots made my day and my round.  Both were short power shots.

My drive on a part 4 on the front nine veered off track and came to rest on a ledge of Spanish moss and dried leaves between two large roots on an enormous old live oak at the edge of the fairway.  I initially considered taking an unplayable lie and getting the ball out of its nest and into a position where I could hit it.  But upon closer inspection, I saw that I had a small bit of space behind the ball and that if I could come down with a forward shopping motion I could probably pop it out of the mess and, if I was very lucky, it might also advance a bit.  So I pulled my 6-iron out of my bag, kissed it, and tried.  It worked.  The ball popped out into the short grass and advanced enough for me to get on the green with my 3rd shot.  I'd never tried that kind of shot -- but it felt like the first thing to do.  I hope I can remember the next time I get in a tight spot that if I can envision the shot and if I believe I can make the shot, then I need to take that shot.  I have a feeling this applies to situations other than stranded golf balls.

My second epiphany came on the 18th hole when I came up out of a greenside bunker where my ball had taken refuge from the smoldering sun under the bunker lip that was shaded with long, feathery fronds of beach grass.  I got that ball out with one of the mightiest downward slams I've ever delivered.  When it popped up onto the green and skidded to a stop about a foot from the cup, I knew the mental beast was alive and well.  I got that ball out of that bunker with one of the mightiest downward slams I've ever delivered.

I'm no wimpy little old lady.  I am a beast!

Sleep is the next step in my master plan for this tournament.  Stay tuned.