Throwing responsibility — and half a sand wedge — into the wind
Sunday, April 27, 2014 12:00 AM
I have had a busy last few weeks and have struggled to find some time on the golf course. A few weeks back, I was getting ready to play in a hockey tournament in Charleston, so I was working every day of the week and needed to get some stuff arranged to be gone all weekend. So, I couldn’t find time to play.
Upon returning from Charleston after playing five hockey games in three days, my body was a little sore and worn out. I then played my sixth game in four days on that Monday, my regularly scheduled men’s league game in Greenville. After that little stretch of activity, golf was the last thing I wanted to do.
That brings me to this week. I headed up to Akron, Ohio, this weekend for one of my good friend’s weddings, so I was once again working all week and had a lot of stuff to arrange before leaving Thursday for about four days. I had to do a bunch of laundry, pack up stuff and get all my work done for the week in three days.
So, like any responsible adult, I put all that stuff off on Wednesday morning and played golf.
In hindsight, maybe I should have just been responsible.
I played the front 9 at Parkland, and my round started terribly. My first two or three shots looked like I had never swung a golf club before. Just ridiculously bad golf shots. But, I began to knock off the rust finishing up the first hole and playing through the second. By the time I stepped on the third tee box, I felt as confident as I can feel on a golf course. Which is not saying much, but that’s not important.
Anyway, I pulled out the driver and hammered a great tee shot on No. 3. I was about 130 yards from the green for my second shot, so I pulled my pitching wedge. I hooked my shot pretty bad but got a really favorable bounce off a tree, and the ball settled down on the green. I three-putted from there for a bogey, which was upsetting, but overall, I felt pretty good. Any time I hit a good drive, my morale skyrockets, and I had just gotten a break from the golf gods, so I thought luck might be on my side.
How wrong that idea was.
The fourth hole at Parkland has always been really nice to me. It is a relatively short, straight par 4, and for whatever, I can always hammer my 4-iron right down the middle of the fairway. I did that very same thing on Wednesday. Pulled out that 4-iron and stroked it right down the middle of the fairway. The ball was ended up about 70 or 80 yards shy of the green, about 30 yards or so from the edge of the small pond protecting the green.
Then, my day fell apart.
Pulled out my trusty Cleveland sand wedge, a club my older brother Eric lent me, and took a hack at the ball. As my club head hit the ground, the club literally snapped in half. There was a loud crack, and the bottom half of my club went flailing about 10 yards in front of me. The ball, on the other hand, skittered those few 30 yards right into the little pond.
I was dumbfounded. Something like that had never, ever happened before. The ground I was hitting off of was pretty hard, mostly just dirt with a few strands of grass, but man, I never in a million years would have guessed my club would snap completely in half. I was in a daze the rest of that hole, based on the triple bogey I ended up with.
From that point on, my round was a lost cause. I really just lost focus after my sand wedge snapped. On the par 3 fifth, I hit a great tee shot, nearly holing out. But, the ball rolled to the back of the green and I three-putted. I made a huge mess of No. 6 and three-putted again on No. 7 to ruin a par opportunity.
Luck then ruined me again on the eighth hole. I pulled out my driver, which I had not hit in several holes. I was fairly frustrated with my day, so I really just wanted to mash a golf ball as hard as possible, regardless of where it ended up. I told myself, “Just grip it and rip it.” And I did just that. I crushed it, just completely straight, right down the middle and long. I estimated it went at least 300 yards.
And I was not happy.
For those of you who know Parkland well, you know that the eighth hole plays about 395 yards. A big lake sits right in front of the green. That lake just happens to start about 300 yards from the tee box.
Sure enough, I trudge down the fairway only to find my golf ball buried in the mud about three feet into the lake.
So, what happened was, I hit probably the best drive of my life that flew about 300 yards in the air. And it splashed directly into a lake.
Wednesday was definitely not my day.
I finished up my nine holes with a 53 and one sand wedge in two pieces.
At least the weather was great.