Only the fourth tournament this year, but in hindsight already one of the highlights. When do you experience an even par round as an amateur.
But from the beginning. I had signed up for an 18-hole tournament at the Golfclub an der Gohrde, so a visit to my mother-in-law was on the cards. The weather was announced as terrific and I was hot as frit fat. Finally I wanted to play better than so far this year.
I create a match plan for myself
Beforehand, I had laid out a match plan for each individual lane and was determined to stick to it. One element was to use the driver only three times and only if he was good on the range.Otherwise I wanted to tee off with irons and the 5 wood and get the ball safely into play first.
The plan was simple: play defensively, go for the bogey and accept the double bogey on some holes. On the par 3’s, lay up easy and take the second to the green and on the par 4’s, don’t attack the greens until I’m within about 110-120 yards – otherwise lay up here too and speculate on a good pitch or chip. The par 5s are pretty long for a short-nosed guy like me except for one, so I’d be happy with a double bogey each here, better I’d chalk up as a bonus.
Remarkable game partners
In the afternoon before the tournament we sit comfortably with my mother-in-law, my daughter plays with her grandma and the Barbies and I look whether the starting times are already published. Yes, they are. So check when it’s my turn and with whom I may play. And when I saw that, I got really nervous. A total of 63 participants were entered and I’m in the flight with the best player of the club. About my handicap 29.5 mildly smiles the handicap 2.0 of my playing partner down on me.
So in the evening (with the approval of the best wife in the world, who saw how nervous I suddenly was) I went to the course again to practice a bit more. The focus was on chipping and long game, but it was also important to get to know the greens. Luckily for me, I ran into Malte there, who I already knew from a previous tournament. Malte immediately talked to me about my gaming partners and said that I got a great group, because both of them (besides Steffen with the 2.0 Hcp there was also Axel with handicap 8.9) be super nice. So I came back to dinner a bit calmer and was looking forward to the tournament – it will be alright.
On tournament morning the best wife in the world drove me to the golf course and I signed up. The play-in was more concentrated than usual, I spent quite a long time chipping around the green and practicing longer putts, because the greens were much faster than I know from Celle. Also hitting the range went ok overall, only the driver was bitching and hardly wanted to fly straight – but it was rarely supposed to play anyway.
Golfing with real experts
So we went to the first tee at start time, Steffen and Alex really made a really nice impression right away and the mood was good. Of course, they both pulled out the driver (hole 1 is a medium par 4 with a slight left bend, but overall not that difficult as an opening hole). I stick to the plan and pick up my 5-wood – tee shot center fairway and all was well. I logically have the next shot in a moment, but it also stops safely in the middle of the fairway. Steffen and Axel chase their second as a matter of course with an iron in the direction of the green, leaving Axel just ten meters short.
My third shot also flies straight towards the green and lands only about one or two meters short of it. This is definitely better than in the practice round the day before, where I hit the greenside bunker left. One good chip and only one putt later I have a five on the scorecard and am almost more happy about it than my two teammates are about their par. &
And on hole two (par 3 uphill with green half in the woods), I stay true to my plan as well. I play an iron in front of the green, chip and need two putts for the next bogey. This is a net birdie for me, just mentioned by the way.
Top golfer with absolute calm
But much more fascinating is Steffens game. I’ve never seen someone play almost every darn ball straight so calmly, so confidently and at the same time almost emotionless. Whether driver, long iron, short iron or wedge … crazy good. And it does that – with one or two exceptions – the entire round. A single drive goes right into the woods and we find it a good ten meters from the edge of the woods in the middle of the "thicket". But Steffen also plays it with a certainty through a gap in the trees back onto the fairway and I stand by in amazement and awe.
Axel plays similarly safe and straight and far. There are sometimes nuances, around which Steffen is then more accurate and which ultimately but then still make the difference between the two. And I would pawn my mother-in-law if I could play like Axel (is there anyone interested?)? No?).
Difference like day and night
To me it’s not nuances, but rather worlds. Because I pick up the driver on the par 5, slice the ball away and we don’t find it. And because I only manage to get the dosage right when putting, but don’t pay attention to the fact that this time I’m standing downhill and the ball therefore rolls two meters behind the hole instead of coming to rest just behind it for the tap-in. And because I consider to play the approach from 50 meters – without any obstacle in front of the green – flat or high, of course I decide for high and sandwedge, top the ball easily and shoot it twenty meters beyond the green.
By the way, Steffen’s lie was so bad after the forest excursion that he couldn’t get around the dogleg and could only play the green with the fourth hole. There he had some bad luck with a lipped putt, played the double bogey – and didn’t make a face. We didn’t find Axel’s drive into the woods on the left side of the fairway, but his provisional ball was so good that he was able to score a six despite the penalty stroke.
I, on the other hand, had a seven on the scorecard thanks to the unintentional sandwedge flyer and a clumsy chip and thus lost probably the only chance to take the honor from the two at least once. Too bad actually.
I can "keep up" at a lower level
Basically the whole round was pretty similar from hole to hole. Steffen and Axel played like two old hands (they are both younger than I am – probably much younger – but of course they have been playing golf much longer) and I felt that I could play reasonably well at a lower level. Only that I then made mistakes again and again, which cost me chances or strokes.
By the way, Steffen played the rest of the front nine in par (and was unlucky with his putting several times). On the back nine he played another bogey, because once again he missed a putt, but in addition he "sprinkled in" three birdies. And also here I was not so much fascinated by the result as by the sovereignty of such a great player; unagitated, concentrated and nevertheless relaxed.
Axel obviously didn’t have such a good day overall. Of course, he was still better than me, even if he missed several shots or approaches sideways. That’s why I can almost proudly say that I lost less balls (only one) than a player with a single-digit handicap. &
But of course I needed 20-25 strokes more than him – because that’s the way it is. &
Despite all that: What I liked most about the whole round and this flight was the way they took me with them – it didn’t matter how I played. Also two single handicappers scrambling through the bushes looking for a ball I just sliced away. Both are just super nice and love to play golf, just like me. And that connects. Point
My game analysis
Well, how do I evaluate my tournament result now in retrospect?. In the end, I made 31 net points, which isn’t all that scary with three holes painted.
I didn’t always stick to my plan and took risks (which didn’t pan out). So one insight is: stick to the plan! And of course I lost points because I made mistakes – and not too few:
- tried the driver three times and failed mercilessly all three times (slice – it was actually almost gone before)
- putted badly several times (not taking into account the slope, wrong tempo) and thus caused unnecessary three putts
- hit the ground first and then the ball several times on the back nine as concentration waned, making it just bounce instead of fly
- three times I chose the wrong approach shot / club and played over the green each time
- on the last hole the air was out and the scatter was so big that I "could" write down the stroke already before the green
But anyway – I’m overall firstly satisfied and secondly had a tremendous amount of fun. As said: a par round you see as an amateur also not every day. And I have two-three concrete construction sites to work on for my game. So this will still … tschakka!