Golf: Yes, I Am Still Playing

I have not written anything about golf since the end of March. Since many times I have written about quitting the game, some of you may have thought that I had finally come to my senses and quit. I am not that smart. I played a lot of golf this year as usual, with 137 rounds recorded. The handicap season will be over around November 15th and the weather is bad this week, so it is very unlikely that I will be getting in any more handicap rounds. I finished the year with an index of 6.1 after starting with a 5.2. My year was typically up and down but having my index go up almost a full stroke shows that it was mostly down. There were some highlights and one of them shows just how goofy this game really is, but we already know that.

I play in a 9-hole senior league on Wednesday mornings, and they have various events. One is the 4-club event, where you can only play with 4 clubs. It is held twice a year. I missed the first one last year but in the 2nd one I shot 37 and won the low net. This year in the first one, I completely fell apart and shot 50. Then in the second event, I parred the first two holes and 3 putted the 3rd hole to make a bogey. From that point on I almost made every putt I looked at to go birdie, par, par, par, bogey, birdie to shoot 35 and win going away. The four clubs I used were driver, 8 iron, gap wedge, and putter. What is amazing is that those were the best 9 hole rounds I had each year. Just another example of you know what. The other goal each year is to try and shoot my age, which is now 72. I did have a 71 last year to do it for the first time. I came close this year, but no cigar. I did on consecutive days put two nine-hole rounds together of 36 each. Late in March I had one of those freaky early in the year rounds, where everything goes right, and shot 72, but at the time I was still 71. I won’t turn 73 until April so there is some time left. We did win a scramble in the nine hole league and another 3 man low net event. Other than that, my year was pretty mediocre, as I went through some long stretches of poor scoring.

I had 15 rounds over 85 and 2 rounds over 90. Though I did not feel that this was much of factor, I had a weird thumb injury on Father’s Day Saturday. It was unusually chilly for mid June and I was not dressed well enough for the temperature, so I did feel cold when I teed off the first hole. I was only going to play 9 that day because the course was very crowded. The very first swing I hit a drive that was a low hook that started right and curved back to the middle of the fairway. I felt this pain at the base of my left thumb, when I made the swing. It got worse quickly, and I tried several methods to alleviate the pain. I finally came up with just wrapping my left thumb around the club much like a baseball grip. Even though this felt awkward it worked pretty well and I hit the ball ok with no pain. The pain slowly went away over a period of about 4 to 6 weeks, and I went back to my normal grip. Rest did not really seem to help and even though the injury occurred swinging a club, playing and swinging the club did not seem to make it worse. Whatever it was, it went away pretty much entirely, and I continued on my inconsistent way, the rest of the season. The worst part of my game was my iron play. I really could not figure it out, and even though I would have periods where my iron game was back on, for the most part I just ruined many a great drive, with some very poor iron shots. Needless to say, my play on the par 3’s was not very good. I continued to battle the chip and putting yips but overall, they were not a major factor in my scoring woes. My driving was by far the best part of my game. Anytime you run into a scoring slump, one of the big factors is just how bad some of your shots are. I would hit some of the most horrible shots in the middle of rounds, that were not going all that bad. I did finish up on a high note last Thursday before the weather turned bad. I shot 75 that was entirely due to a spectacular putting round. They are always fun and do not come along all that often. I had 23 putts, with only 9 putts on the front nine and had 0 putts on 3 holes. If I had been striking the ball at all, I would have shot my age. The weather is not looking good for a while, but I am sure there are at least 3 more rounds out there before the year ends, which will put me at the 140 count. I tried many things to help me with the irons and other aspects of my game, but none of them really panned out. Like always, there was a few things I thought I learned about this goofy game, and I will pass them along in future blogs. For a 72 year old, being able to play 140 rounds in a golf season, was by far the best part of 2022. See you on the links.

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