Yesterday I played Lanier Golf Club up by Lake Lanier, about 40 minutes north of Atlanta. I got there early and decided to hit some range balls to kill some time. As I was finishing up my bucket it started pouring rain. I ran up to the shop they have by the range and sat inside to wait it out. As I waited I talked about the course with the man who managed the range. We had some time, so he walked me through the course hole by hole and told me what to expect, where the best place was to put the ball on holes where that mattered, when to take an extra club hitting into certain deceptive greens, etc. For those of you who play golf, you know how important that type of information is, and it is usually the type of information you only learn after playing the course a number of times, so needless to say, I was eager to listen!
Right from the start my game was much better than it had been on Tuesday. My ball striking was on and everything just felt like it was clicking. With the exception of my driver, all of my clubs were very consistent and my short game was the best it has been since I have been back out. I worked a lot on it the last time I was at the range, so I was glad to see that the extra attention paid off on the course!
I almost chipped in on both 6 and 7. I practically lipped the ball out on both holes, and was consistently getting my up and downs from 40 yards and in. If my driver had been consistent I would have been scoring incredibly well, but as it turned out, I shot a 46 on the front.
The back 9 starts off with a par 3. I hit a 3 iron pin high, just off the green to the right. The pin was on the left edge of a wide green. True to form, I put my chip to within 2 feet and sunk my par putt. The next holes were a mixture of double bogeys and pars, in line with exactly how well my drive was. If I topped it or pulled it left, I generally added 2 strokes to my score, but if I had a good drive I usually parred out.
Sixteen was a short par 4. I hit a decent drive and had about 140 left. I stuck it to about 15 feet and 2 putted for my par. Seventeen was a long par 5. I hit a nice drive, followed by a great 3-iron and a 9-iron into the green. Two putt for a par. As I lined up to hit my drive on 18 I said a little prayer. I just had 2 good drives in a row and with how inconsistent my driver had been all day, I really didn’t want to botch it on the final hole! The prayer must have helped because I hit a good drive, right down the center of the fairway. Unfortunately I left my 7-iron about 10 yards short of the green. Since my short game had been pretty good all day, I felt rather confident that I could get my up and down to save par. I went up, checked out the green and took my shot. I hit it perfectly, exactly where I wanted to land it, and watched as it tracked back toward the hole, going a little bit faster than I would have liked, but then “TINK!” — it hits the pin and drops! A chip-in birdie to end the round!!!
After giving a nice celebratory yell, I went back to the cart and added up my score for the back 9. 43. I counted it again. 43. Add that to the 46 on the front, and that chip-in on 18 allowed me to break 90 on the golf course for the first time since my amputation!!!
Needless to say, I am beyond excited, because I expected that to take a good bit longer to accomplish. My driver still needs a lot of work, but thankfully my short game was able to carry me through this time!