June 30

Playing out of my league

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Played golf today for the last time this trip and was totally humiliated. I started out playing okay, but my friend really lit the course up. As his play improved, I worked harder, became more desperate, and my game deteriorated. My friend, who is an ex touring pro, came within one stroke of tying the course record (he shot a 68 on an extremely difficult course from the waaayyy back tees, from where I too was playing) and clipped me good on our wagering proposition. It’s fun to watch the pros play on TV and at tournaments; it’s not so much fun when every brilliant, seemingly impossible shot made eats into your wallet.
Just one example of how the entire round went: on the 18th hole, a long par 5, (I was already deep in the red, but with the presses we had going a good performance for me here could save a lot—I got a stroke, so he has to birdie to win) he makes a great drive down the middle of the fairway; I hit a pretty good drive down the right side of the fairway. He has already told me that if he can make an eagle on the hole, he will tie the course record, so I know he’s going for it in two. He tops his ball a little with his 3-wood and sends in into a fairway bunker with a terrible lie—his ball is right against the lip of the bunker, making the kind of shot he needs to reach the green extremely difficult and dangerous. I hit my 3-wood to within 150 yards of the pin, so I figure if I can put it on the green and two putt for par I’ve got the hole, because it seems the best he can do is pitch out, put it on the green with his forth shot, then even if he one putts it for par I win because I have a stroke on the hole. I hit it to within 4 feet of the pin with an 8-iron. He comes out of the sand with an unbelievable shot and hits the back fringe of the green. We’re both lying three. He makes his putt—about a 15 footer from off the green—for a birdie, which completely unmans me because I know I’ve got to birdie to win the hole. Of course, I miss my birdie putt, tap it in for par and halve the hole, which doesn’t reduce my debt, but at least keeps it from getting bigger. That’s how it went all afternoon.
At least the day had cooled off a little, and it even rained hard for about five minutes, which really felt good. It’s supposed to cool down in the days to come, which is no surprise since we leave tomorrow.


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