In my last blog post I whined about the state of my golf game….and mentioned my concern about the coming big Member Guest tournament at my home course MKCC.
My guest was my friend, Harry Alexander, who grew up playing in Scotland and plays some damn fine golf. He is no longer a country club member so his rounds are down and he carries a 7 handicap….but I know he’s better than that.
The tournament format is pretty simple….teams are grouped by the combined team handicap….Harry at a 7 and me at a 20 (I am embarrassed even writing that)….and we found ourselves in a flight of 5 other teams with similar team handicaps.
You play each team in your flight in a 9 hole match. Players get strokes as earned by a match of handicaps. Teams select the best net score between the partners and compare that score with the other team’s best ball. Team with the lowest score gets one point. Tie score .5 points. Lose the hole, no points.
On Friday we played three nine hole matches. Well, WE didn’t play three matches, Harry played three matches. I was awful. In my defense, my back went into spasm for the first two nines….and Harry carried me like the man that he is…we won the first match….and tied the second. The third match we (well I) fell down on the final hole, a par 3 where our competitor got a stroke and won with a par/net birdie.
We hit the 19th hole for a bit and came out to examine the scoreboard….we were in third place out of six in our flight…and well behind the leaders. We had work to do on Saturday. Riding on our abilities was pride….but also a team bet….each team kicked in $100 with payouts for first and second only.
We had our work cut out for us…
Our first match on Saturday was against one of the leading teams….a fellow member I had never met and his guest, dubbed Friar Tuck by others in the flight for obvious physical reasons. Nice enough guy and a very good golfer (2 handicap) but a little time in the barber’s chair and a salad or two for dinner wouldn’t hurt him. Our final match was against my friend Johnny Mo…who had driven the first green with a soaring tee shot over the pines two weeks ago to win the Closest to the Pin Contest. I’ve played with him plenty and know he can bring it.
We knew too well that we needed two convincing wins, not just one or even two squeakers, if we would have any chance to jump up the leader board. So off we went……
In the first match we were great partners….ham and egg as they call it…..Harry handled one hole and I the other. We beat Friar Tuck’s team 7 – 4…which could just as easily been 8-3 except for a 1 in 100 shot on the final hold by Friar Tuck…. A good finish, but not great.
We needed to stomp on Johnny Mo. Harry started to struggle (for him anyway, I wish I could play like him on his bad day) and told me early on that this was my nine. And the golf Gods smiled upon me as they sometimes do….I picked it up…..and stomp we did…beating them 8.5 – 2.5.
We ended up finishing second in our flight, cruising past Friar Tuck. The winners of our flight out-scored us by 3 points I think….and Harry and I were the only ones to beat them head-to-head…just the slightest bit of consolation.
For those final two crucial matches, I don’t really remember any specific drives, exceptional iron play or key putts….but when I looked at my final score for the combined 18 holes….I was stunned to see I had shot an 87….Cool.
Its been a long time since I broke 90 and I am really hoping that I have turned a corner of sorts and can get back to where I’d once been….there is still plenty of golf ahead this season to find out….and I am looking forward to it.
The Taco’s Last Bite:
Call me a convert….I’m done with that buffoon Craig Carton and Joe Benigno has worn me out. I’m and ESPN Radio guy….specifically Colin Cowherd at 10am and Steven A. Smith at 1pm. Cowherd is funny and BRILLIANT…Steven A. tosses his opinions around easily…the guy is lightning… give them a shot.