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Thursday, August 25, 2016

What in the World Happened to My Tee Shot?

The wheels came off my round when I made the turn - where, or where, did my dependable tee shot go?

I was really looking forward to my regular Thursday round this morning. I've been doing some work on my short game - tweaking my bump and run shot, changing a couple of short irons in my bag to get better coverage from 70 to 90 yards out - and was eager to test out the changes on the course.

Things started out well enough. I had 5 up and downs on the front nine and despite a triple bogey on the dreaded water hole and a missed birdie putt (depressingly short) I was looking at a fairly good score when I made the turn.

Then the wheels came off. My consistently dependable and predictable tee shot didn't make the turn with me.

On the 10th hole my tee shot went left and I ended up in a fairway bunker. That wasn't terribly worrisome. Sometimes I lose my rhythm when we make the turn and it takes a hole to get it back. So I came out of the bunker with my five wood, made good progress down the fairway, and finished the hole with a bogey, a good score for this girl on the long par four.

Then I did the same thing on the par five 11th hole, only this time I hit the cover off the ball. It was flying off to the left and headed for OB, but hit a tree and bounced back into the fairway. Thank you, golf goddess! Two good three wood shots later I was sitting at the front of the green and again walked off with a bogey. This time a waster opportunity - I can easily shoot par on the 11th hole.

The long par three was trouble-free - my five wood was behaving. But trouble came back in a big way on the 13th. In an attempt to get my driver back under control I choked down about three inches. I still hit left, but now pitifully short, and it sounded like I'd hit a marshmallow.  The trouble continued on the 14th - left, short, and mushy.

By the time I teed it up on the 15th hole I was terrified of my driver, so I left it in the bag and pulled out my three wood. That was a good decision, for a while. I didn't get the distance my driver generally delivers, but I did advance the ball and land it in the fairway, which was an improvement over what had been happening.

Then the troubles shifted to my par three tee shot on the 16th hole, this time with a five hybrid. Left. Never mind that I managed to get the ball out of the rough, up over a bunker, and onto the green with a magnificent flop shot.  What was going on with my tee shot?

I stumbled through 17 an 18 using my three wood off the tee, but it wasn't a pretty finish. The short game changes seemed to work. With 13 putts on the front nine and 16 on the back, I managed to salvage the round but I'm left dreaming about the round I could have had - the golfer's endless quest for that round when it all comes together simultaneously - and wondering what in the world happened to my tee shot on the back nine?