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Wellington Golf and Country Club

Today I played eighteen at the Wellington Golf and Country Club. It was my first day with the 983K, and I was eager to let it flex its muscles. More importantly, I wanted to continue to shore up my game. I've been striking the ball well, but scattering shots left, right, short, long… that needed to stop.

The round summary goes as follows (I won't go into as much detail as the last time)…

I started by push-fading a drive to the right rough on the first (4, 355) hole. I hit a pitching wedge and left myself with a long putt. Three putts later I had a bogey. This block/cut would continue throughout the entire front nine.

The second hole was a nice par three (3, 160): I hit a seven iron a little thin and left myself with a long putt, but got up and in for the par. On the third hole (5, 525), I seemingly closed the clubface enough to drive the ball straight, but not very far - toe job, I think. A solid 4I left me with a 1/2 PW to the green, which I put to 20 feet before missing the putt.

The fourth hole (4, 341) was a short hole and I push-cut a big 3W off the heel to the right. I hit a PW thin and long, then chipped onto the green with the PW and two-putted for a bogey. The fifth hole (4, 338) saw another huge push-cut into trees on the right. I had room to play a punch/draw 9I to about 30 yards short, and crapped out on the chip to leave myself entirely too long a putt for par: another bogey. The sixth hole (3, 174) was a relief, and I hit a 7I to the left-middle of the green and two-putted for a pretty standard par.

The seventh hole gave me another opportunity to hit a huge push-cut with the driver (I played left), but I played a solid 8I and two-putted for a par. I hit another push-cut driver on the eighth (5, 484), a rather lame 4I out of the rough, and a pretty nice pitch with a PW to about ten feet before lipping out the birdie putt. I didn't deserve a birdie putt after that drive, but hey, whatever. Nine (4, 363) saw a 3W pulled a little but not too bad, a solid 7I that snagged the rough and didn't bounce, and another crappy chip. So, going out, 1,1,1,2,3,3,3,3,4 - four-over 40. I didn't deserve anything like that, but I'll take it.

The tenth (4, 386) is a solid par four up and over a hill. I hit a solid 3W into the wind, but a bit off the heel, and left myself with about 170. From the middle of the fairway, while taking some practice swings, I had a bit of a revelation: I was doing better about bringing my arms down from the inside, but my hips were still getting ahead of my swing. My swing thought for the back nine became very simple: start the downswing by dropping your arms into the slot. I striped a 5I into a steady wind to about 20 feet and two-putted for a solid par.

The eleventh (5, 574) forces a short drive to avoid water crossing the fairway 250 yards out and I chose the 3W. I hit it solid but it ballooned a bit. I hit a slightly fat 2I across the water and left myself 150 to the green. Figuring I could punch a 7I into the green, I came up short when a gust ballooned it straight up. A chip to four feet and a nice putt got me a par - I should have hit 3W on my second shot or taken a 6I coming in, though.

The twelfth (3, 200) is a solid par three, and I caught a 3I (I always hit my irons off tees one club short for some reason) a little thin and left myself a 60-footer up and over a tier. I put it to three feet and made the right-edge putt for a par. The thirteenth (4, 361) was playing slightly downwind, and so I threw a 3W straight, leaving myself a 9I to the green. It was a tad short, leaving myself in the fringe for the front pin placement, and I nearly holed the birdie putt but settled for a par.

With the thirteenth playing downwind, the short fourteenth (4, 336) was playing into the wind. Heavily doglegged and fairly short, I took the 3W and popped it up a little. I left myself a 5I to the green and completely fucked it up - fat, right, short. Ugh. I don't know what I was thinking about while swinging at that one, but it wasn't golf. I landed a foot left of where I wanted on my 60-yard PW shot and found myself deep in a grass bunker, five feet below the green to a short pin. I played a great sand bunker-type shot with a PW out of the grass bunker to five feet and holed the putt for a bogey.

The fifteenth (4, 406) is a nice par 4 and I played a slight fade with the driver a solid 250 yards, leaving myself an 8I to the green. I hit it to the middle with a back pin placement and just came up short on the birdie putt. The sixteenth (3, 137) is a beautiful little par 3 with a water hazard short, and I barely cleared it with a soft 8I as the wind gusted and had its way with my Titleist. I had a fried egg lie to a pin 15 feet onto the green and four feet above the ball. I opened the face of the sand wedge - typically not something you do with a buried lie in a bunker - and slammed the club down pretty hard behind the ball (bouncing here would be bad). The ball popped out and rolled to 15 feet - I was very happy with that - but I missed the come-backer for par.

Seventeen (4, 381) played into a swirling crosswind, and I played a solid 3W to the middle of the fairway. A 5I into the green came up fat and thus short. I pitched to 10 feet and missed the putt for a bogey. The eighteenth (5, 500) is a solid par five with water down the entire right-hand side. I teed the ball way up in the air, thought about my swing thought, and hid a very relaxed drive 270 yards from the tee - solid, beautiful, and something I'd take all day long. The 983K is sweet when you actually put a swing on it! A slightly fat 6I layup (the water creeps in front of the right half of the green) and a solid pitch to 20 feet left me with a birdie putt. I missed it a bit right and tapped in for an easy par.

So, coming back in, 0,1,1,1,2,2,3,3 - a three-over 39. 40/39 is a 79, and I broke 80 playing like crap on the front and not putting too well on the back. 36 total putts - I should have been about six putts lower than that. My short game needs work, and my iron/wood play will improve as I continue to get back into the groove.

For $25, the Links at Madison Green is a more beautiful, better-kept, more challenging course. Wellington G&CC has more room for error - my 79 would have been an 85 at Madison - and is thus a little easier on higher handicappers. The greens were burned out in a few places, and the fairways were a touch spotty. It's not bad…

Next on my hitlist:

  • I'm going to take some lessons with José. He's gotta decide between five 45-minute lessons for $180 or five 30-minute lessons for $120.
  • Emerald Dunes
  • One or more of the courses at PGA National (it pays to have a friend that works there).
  • Try to squeeze in a trip to the driving range with Carey in September.

That's the plan, man. The 983K is solid. The 980F is incredibly solid. My wedge play and short game need serious work (touch is always the first thing to go and the last thing to recover). I'm on the right path.

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