The highs and lows of golf

Today was a microcosm of how great golf can be and how gut twisting.

The front 9 I played was as solid as I have been in a long time, save one HORRENDOUS swing and hole. It wasn’t the lowest 9, the best I have stripped, nor was it in any way spectacular . What it was was solid and easy.

To start, I drove it just off the front edge of the green on a 355 par 4 and got up and down for birdie.

The next hole was a 573 into the wind par 5 with OB left. I favored the right side too much landed just in the right edge of the fairway and kicked on the cart path. My nearest relief was in a lie and angle where I couldn’t hit 3-wood, so I layed up, hit it about 8 feet and misread it just a hair and burned the edge.

I hit it within 30 yards of the next hole (375) and hit a great vertical shot over a tree onto the back tier about 4 feet and made birdie.

200 yard par 3, in between clubs. My shot started left, hooked, the wind blew it left, it kicked left and rolled left. It was left of left. I hit the pitch a bit too hard and hit two terrible putts to walk off with a double and back to even.

I hit 3-iron a little through the next fairway, had a little tree trouble and punched it up there like 20 feet and made it.

Par 5, driver, iron, 2 putts.

A nasty 150 yard into the wind, uphill par 3 with anything short going in water. Reminds me of an easier version of 13 at Augusta. I hit a 9-iron low into the wind and it never left the flag and jumped over the green. I hit a nice pitch and left the putt short in the jar from 8-feet.

The next two holes are 450 into the wind par 4’s. The first was a basic drive, iron and 2 putt. The second is a nasty hole. OB left, tree and bunkers right and water short and left of green.

Perfect drive, perfect wedge to 12 feet and a burned edge.

Nothing to write home about on the scorecard. 1-under, big deal…I agree. What I can’t explain was the intangible ease that I was hitting most of the shots. Not feeling stuck, not thinking too much, not worrying about my swing. Pick a shot, pick a club and hit it. I hit more of those simple shots on this 9 than I have hit in the last year and that is the key to my improvement.

Can it be this easy for me to hit golf shots mentally so I can focus on playing the game and shooting a score.

The next hole was a 325 par 4 with a lake short of the green. I could fly the lake no problem. The problem was it was down wind and there was no way the ball would land on the green and hold down wind…and I could not get 3 wood there. I am all for taking stupid chances, but not when there is zero benefit, as an 80 yard shot from the fairway was easier than over this green.

So I went against my principles and layed up. I pulled it slightly, the wind got it and it went near the edge of the hazard next to a bush.

I slashed it out on the green, while turning my SW shaft into a crescent shape and felt a tweak in my shoulder. I thought it was just a stinger, but it wouldn’t go away. I tried to make another swing, but it wouldn’t work.

I have WD’d an embarrassing number of times the last 5-10 years because I was so frustrated at how awful I was. This time, I wanted to play more, but couldn’t.

I had it looked at by a friend who is a physical therapist and it was a strain or a pull that just needs 7-10 days of rest…another bummer as I was starting to get it a little.

I asked if I should have toughed it out kept playing. “Bad idea. Then you could have torn something.”

That made me feel a little better.

I am always open to any criticisms, as long as they are valid and on point. I deserve plenty. Unlike my younger years, I am not interested in making excuses or justifying anything. I am trying to give an honest rendition of what I am thinking and what I need to do to get my game back to where I want it.

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11 Comments

  1. Calvin

    Rueful smile. 🙂 Golf is a cruel mistress.

    Not the time to “tough it out” when you are starting to see light through the gloom. You did the right thing here. That’s like lightning on the course. Get the hell out of dodge. Rest and contemplate your navel for a while. It might give you a little pleasure to know that more than a few of us would love to have your problems.

    Reply
  2. banner12

    Monte,

    At your age you need to set realistic goals. Prepare for the Senior tour. You have little chance of making a living with the young guys as you can see how tough the competition is even at this minor event. Not that the Senior tour is easy to make. It isn’t. But with your length at least you will have a chance.

    The regular tour ship has sailed and the sooner you realize it the better off you will be. Stop being in denial. It is what it is.

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      I have no illusions or delusions. I am trying to make myself as good as I can and I have no idea where that leads me right now.

      Reply
      • Michael

        With all due respect to Monte, he wouldn’t make it on the Champions Tour. Not due to play, but just the way it’s set up. They base the fields very heavy on the amount of money said player has won on the PGA Tour. Since the TV contracts were re-negotiated after Tiger came onto the scene, the current batch on 50+ players have made a significant amount of money over those who came before.

        Monte’s best bet if he were serious about even doing the Champions Tour would be a LOT of Monday qualifying or Q-School, which gives out cards to under 8 people a year. Even those guys don’t get to play much after re-shuffles due to.. You guessed it: the money list.

        Reply
  3. Wally

    At least you have the balls to make the journey, good for you, keep it up

    Reply
  4. Calvin

    Ahh, the pleasures of golf. I had four straight rounds in the seventies and then a 40 on the front followed by consecutive nines of 47, 54 and 46. Sigh.

    Never ever give up.

    Reply
  5. Birdman506

    Monte, I enjoy reading most of the posts in your blog, and especially enjoyed this one. Are there any shots you would play differently, club selection-wise?

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      No. The ball I hit over the green on the par 3 was a tough little finger of the green and the distance had to be perfect with the wind blowing. I could hit the exact same shot 5 times and end up within 10 feet on 3 of them.

      As far as the double bogey, that was just a terrible shot and part of my evolving into less of a hands hitter and more of a body hitter.

      Reply
  6. meateater

    Tough having to Wd with an injury, and made all the more so becaue you were tryng to play smart on that hole. Shyt happens.

    I get the feeling that you are way too invested emotionally in every shot. If it’s not perfect, you are furious at yourself. Tiger made that kind of mindset work, but it’s a tough way to scrape around the course. I think most guys who are successful are out there just punching out commercial shots, one after the other, no drama.

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      Awesome insight and so true. I am making a post about just this concept.

      Reply
  7. Sensei

    Monte are you aware of what’s your score during a round playing for real?
    I’m always amazed by your storys about how and why and how much. 🙂
    Read this book: “Eugen Herrigel, Zen in the art of archery”
    The best book written about golf.
    A Golf Koan for you:
    A student once asked the Master Golf Headpro:
    “What is the art of playing golf?”
    The Master Headpro replied:
    “First hit it off the tee and at the end make a putt.”

    Reply

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