Patapsco, parts I and II

I know in my last post I said I’d talk about the last time I played Patapsco. Well, today I went out and played it again, so I’ll mention both.

The round previous to today was ok. I don’t remember any specific moments of awesomeness, but I shot 5 over par in the end. Tied my personal best there. My first round at Patapsco was earlier this year, in May IIRC, and I finished at 16 over. I’ve been fighting this course since, but in the spirit of competition, not in anger, so I’ve been able to improve my game there. Immensely! The length of my drives, after studying and applying some basic techniques to my game, has grown and I’m out driving my old stuff with bad drives. The good drives now are ridiculous as will be seen below.

Today’s round was great. Finished at 4 over par, a new personal best at Patapsco. Thanks. I also kept notes on what I shot per hole instead of just adding in my head and remembering the final outcome. I figure this way, I can keep track of where I need to improve or where my game falls apart.*

I got bogies on the first two holes. +2! A great start! Really. I usually get double bogies on those holes. Of the 10 or so rounds played at Patapsco this year, this is the second bogey I’ve gotten on 1. The rest were doubles. :/ I parred the 3rd hole, even though it was in the C position and finished 4 with another bogey. Grrr, now at +3.

Birdie on 5! Even though my drive left me on the road alongside the fairway, I still birdied 5! Feeling good I headed to the 6th tee. Crap right out of the gate. Crap followed crap and I finished 6 with a double bogey. 7’s tee shot was phenomenal. It was one of those moments where as soon as it leaves your hand, you know it’s going to be a stunner of a shot. Blew me away. Since no one was around, I pointed at the result and said “And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a drive.” It was beautiful. Birdied 7.

On 8, one that can easily go bad, I threw the exact same drive as 7. Straight as could be and it landed 3 feet past the pin about 15 feet to the left. I hit the basket on my 2nd shot. Finished with a birdie. 9 was another bummer. Started with a great drive that then hit a tree. One foot to the left and I would have been money. Crap followed crap… Bogey on 9. Finished the front 9 at: 3 over par. Not bad. Still on a high, I went to the back 9.

When I had started, there was a group of 6 on 5. When I hit the 10th tee, they were just finishing teeing off there. They asked if I wanted to play through. It was very tempting, but I said “I would but it seems that when I do my game goes to hell.” They laughed, I said I was a patient guy, they played on.

I’ll be a bit brief as nothing really stood out on the back 9 like they did on the front. Parred 10. Birdied 11. One of my favorites, it’s a par 5 that is wide open. No trees, just grass. I can be on the green in 3 easy and I’ve hit the basket on eagle shots a couple of times. I’ve also screwed myself on it a few times. It’s easy to do. 12, 13, and 14 were all pars.

15 looked like it went ot hell right from the get go. I salvaged a little of it and ended with a bogey. Bogey on 16 as well. 17’s drive started hellish but took a great deflection off a tree that pushed t across the fairway and farther along. Ended up parring it. Parred 18 as well.

Like I said, the back 9 wasn’t as eventful as the front. Played it well, but I usually do. It’s the front 9 that always kills me, and that’s mainly the first 2 holes!

I’m going to try to get in another round Tuesday morning, depending on weather and chores. While few, working part-time has its perks. And then next weekend, my friend and his gf are coming up to play Patapsco for the first time. This is the friend that got me started on playing regularly and we used to play quite often at Burke and Pohick parks when I lived in northern VA. That was 5 years ago. Since then, we’ve played Burke and Seneca (a beautiful course), but this year is my first year out in 2 years. Nice to play again, especially since I’m playing better.

Parting thought… On 15, I waited for the 6some ahead of me to clear the hole. After finishing they had to walk partway back along the fairway to the 16th tee. After they cleared 15, I threw my driver and watched in horror as it shot about 15 feet above the heads and off into the woods. As I walked off after uttering a mild expletive, I heard someone in the 5some behind me say “Golf just isn’t fun unless you’re a mediocre player.” Or something to that effect. I can see his point, but it would be nice to nail every shot, every time. But I can settle for days like today. As long as I have more of them.

*- My friend, Alex, says he plays for fun and isn’t necessarily interested in working hard to improve his game. It’s a hobby. I feel the same way: it is a hobby and I play for fun. I also play for the exercise, but that’s besides the point. While playing for fun, I intend to improve my game as much as I can. I like beating the courses!