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Delray Beach Golf Club

I took some time today to play the closest thing to "my home track" as I could consider (I've played it five times, instead of the one time I've played other courses), Delray Beach Golf Club. I struck the ball solidly most of the day but had a lame day putting and a lamer day yet with my wedge(s). In the end, I pulled out an 82, which is great considering the fact that I made about four putts.

The Donald Ross design opens with a fairly safe hole (5, 517) and I was fresh off of a fairly decent practice session beating balls. My swing thought for the day was "start the downswing with my arms sliding into the inside slot." It's a long swing thought, but the nice thing is that it's actually just a simple action, and thoughts themselves take up almost no time at all. 🙂

Anyway, I hit driver up the middle, pull-hooked a 4I into a gnarly lie short of an unmarked pond. Delray Beach GC is a very sandy course, and anywhere outside of the fairway and the rough is kinda sandy. My ball was sitting down in some grass and sand, and I put a PW to the front of the green. I played the shot like a fairway bunker and caught it a tad fat. I pitched to five feet and sunk the putt for an opening par. That's one of the four putts I made.

The second hole is a fairly lame par 4 (339) with water down the whole left-hand side and not nearly enough room to play a reasonable straight or cut shot to the right. So, instead, I cut a driver hard down the right, fluffed an 8I short, and hit a pitching wedge entirely too hard. Two putts handed me a bogey. On three (3, 180), I hit a 5I a little long, but got down in two for a par. The fourth hole (4, 418) saw a push-cut driver, another fluffed 8I off of a terrible lie, and a PW to two feet for a near-kick-in par. One over after four - I'll take it.

The next hole (4, 329) is a short par 4, and a member of my foursome, who spent most of the round talking on his cell phone, placed a few bets while I slice a 2I to the right into some terrible nastiness - nearly equal to the terrible nastiness I was beginning to develop for Bet Man. I chopped a 7I out and had a chip to the green followed by a two-putt bogey. I played the sixth (3, 162) with a nice 6I past the pin, but three-putted to another bogey. The streak continued on the next hole (4, 390), 3W to the right, 6I out of some thick crap, a PW that skittered over the green after hitting a sprinkler head, and a chip and a putt: bogey. I limped in at 9 (5, 530) with a solid 3W, a 3I, a PW to 20 feet, and two putts: 0,1,1,1,2,3,4,5,5: 41 on the front.

I dropped back from Bet Man's group at the turn and joined a "wealth strategist" and his friend. They were much better company (and more my age). On the ten (4, 374) I hit a driver off to the right and hit a very nice 7I to the green. I had a 15-foot putt at a birdie but left it a foot short. Par. I hit a solid driver on the next hole (4, 370) that flew through the fairway and hit the back of a mounded bunker. I figured it'd kick down and I'd have a flat shot, but I found that it had nearly embedded on the downslope somehow. I tried half-hitting a low 7I onto the green, but ran through the left side and pitched horribly to five feet before missing the putt.

Twelve (5, 500) has a lame creek cutting across the middle. I blocked a driver mildly, hit 5I to lay up, and put a hanging lie to 30 feet with a PW. Two putts later and I had a par. Thirteen (3, 188) proved to be unlucky. My 6I headed a little left with the wind into a front bunker that was running low on sand. Of course, i didn't realize how little sand there was until I'd bounced my club off the clay and into the ball, scooting it over the back of the green. A lame chip and two putts quickly netted the double bogey. I caught up on the next hole (4, 340), though: 3W up the left side, PW to 5 feet, and a putt holed. My first birdie since I got on this kick again. They feel good.

Fifteen (5, 490) proved a stern test: a driver up the left side, a fat 6I from a less-than-perfect lie, and a 9I a little thin and left caught the bunker. A blast and two putts (the first left short) and I had given my birdie back. Sixteen (4, 389) played to a par with a 3W right (forgot the swing thought) and a beautiful, 3/4 5I to 20 feet. My birdie putt was struck too hard (memory of the last hole, no doubt), but I made the four-footer coming back. Seventeen (3, 141) always gets me. I'm always in the front bunker. The shot looks like it's 100 yards and I swear my body doesn't just believe the yardage. Every time. I had a nice fried egg, blasted to 15 feet ('bout the best I could do there, really) and two-putted for another bogey. I had the line and left the putt short - memory of the last hole again? 😛

Eighteen, well, somehow I managed a bogey. 3W up the right, dumped the 5I from a thin lie on dirt (sand) into the greenside bunker, hit the flag with the blast, and two-putted, rimming out the ten-footer for par.

0,1,1,3,2,3,3,4,5: 41. 41+41=82. Not disappointing, but not great. I was not able to practice putting beforehand because they'd sanded the practice green, and the confidence I normally have in my speed was off all day long. I hit a bunch of wedges - the scoring clubs - poorly. My mental focus let up in a few spots - pretty much every time I say "cut" above.

The 983K continues to bomb the ball down the fairway, but it's pretty obvious that I've gotta get some of the taller tees. The ball really responds better to being teed higher and making impact higher on the clubface. The 9.5° hits the ball plenty high - I may have to try to bring the shot down a little bit or work a little harder on getting that draw going. I don't wish that I had gotten the 8.5° club… yet. 🙂 Perhaps I should have gone with the club with the mid kick point and the medium-low trajectory. Nah - I'll be fine.

The course, as I mentioned, is a Donald Ross design. I think he only did nine holes - probably the back nine - but the course plays nearly the same on both halves. In many cases, false front bunkers 20 yards short of the green deceive the eye. The fairway is often hidden over a swale or behind these flashes of sand, making "the safe shot" appear even safer. Suppose the hole plays as a dogleg left: Ross likes to put bunkers with high lips (so you see the sand) on the inside of the dogleg. The play? A draw around the bunkers. The trick? You can't see the fairway. I think Pete Dye takes a little more inspiration from old Donald Ross than he might admit.

Carey is going golfing with her brother on Sunday. She won't bother to read all of this, so I'm comfortable saying how happy this makes me here. I hope she likes it, and I don't want to pressure her in any way, but I think it'd be great if she picked up a lot of passion (and at least a little skill) in golf. I'd love to spend a lot of summer evenings with her on the fairways and greens. Apparently on the right-hand side, if I can't groove my draw again soon. 🙂

One Response to "Delray Beach Golf Club"

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