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Golf Bonaventure

I was bored yesterday and didn't feel like doing work, so I ducked out at 2 and arrived at 3 to play the East course at Bonaventure Country Club. At 6519 yards from the whites (and 7001 from the blues), the course was in a mucky, muddy condition. None of my drives rolled at all, and the furthest one ended up from the point of initial impact was about one yard. The greens were also dead sticky too - not a good thing if you're playing a knock-down into the wind, which was breezy all day and 10-15 MPH.

I had one of the best rounds of golf I've ever had, and if a few of the lip-outs had gone in, I'd have shot par. My ball-striking and direction were solid all day, and I played nicely. My swing thought was "just use your arms," trying to remove a "jump" in my legs and fast rotation of my hips. I hit nearly every shot at 85% or so to maximize control.

The first hole is a 532-yard par 5, and given my lack of time to warm up (it was already 3:30!), I took a few swings with my 15° Titleist before poking a push out to the right rough short of the trees. I played out of trouble but double-crossed myself a little and hit a pull-hook just into the left rough short of the bunkers and 150 yards out to a back pin. I hit an 8I to the middle of the green and putted the 25-footer to 2 feet, making the putt. (E/0/1/2)

The second is a short par 4 measuring 325 and winding around a lake. I hit a nice slight fade with the 3W off the tee and left myself 90 yards to the hole. I put a PW to about 10 feet and lipped out the putt, tapping in for a par. (E/1/2/4)

Three is the "scenic" hole with a lame blue waterfall fronting the green (and elevating it about 15 feet). I chose a 7I on the 150-yarder, caught it a bit fat, and bounced the ball off of the top shelf of the waterfall and onto the back of the green. Two putts from 35 feet and another par was mine. (E/1/3/6)

The fourth is one of the longer par 4s but still measures only 405 yards. I hit a driver straight up the fairway and flat chunked my 6I - I was attempting to play a bit of a punch into the breeze. My LW pitch over the bunker ended up 25 feet from the hole, and I two-putted. (+1/2/3/8)

The photo of the fifth shows a lot more water than you see from the tee. I drove my 3W at the 151 marker and just about stuck it over the top of that. I played a soft 8I to the front right pin and left it 10 feet below the hole. The putt broke less than expected, leaving me a tap-in for par. (+1/3/4/10)

Six played into a stiff breeze, and my 6I knock-down was fanned a little to the right and ballooned short of the right bunker. I chipped to 15 feet but lipped out the par putt. (+2/3/4/12)

I played seven well, but walked away with a bogey. My drive was cut a bit too much and found the water. I dropped, played a 5I that I overcooked to the left, and hit a punch 9I out of some thick and nasty stuff to 30 feet. Two putts for a six. (+3/3/4/14)

The 394-yard eighth is pretty straightforward. I drove down the middle and put a 7I onto the right front to a left front pin. My 25 footer grazed the edge and the 2-footer coming back was center cut. (+3/4/5/16)

My drives had been cutting a little, so as I stood on the tee at nine I aimed at the first bunker, planning to cut the ball back to the fairway. I hit one dead straight into the back left corner of the first bunker, leaving myself an uphill/sidehill fairway bunker shot. I played a very gentle 5I from 170 to the middle right pin and left myself 25 feet away. It was perhaps the best shot I hit all day. Two putts and a par. (+3/4/7/18).

Three over, four out of seven fairways hit, seven out of nine greens, and a fairly lame eighteen putts. I'd set a goal for myself to shoot 76, so I was going to have to play well on the back to equal that goal. Aside from a fat shot, a penalty, and a bit of a flutter, I played the front quite tidily.

The back starts the same way as the front, albeit with a shorter par five at 482 yards. I drove up the left-hand side and bought a blue PowerAde from the hot golf cart girl. No tip though: $3 is plenty. I put a 5I straight up the fairway, and left myself 80 yards to a front left pin. My PW was a half a line thin and went 25 feet past the hole. I rolled the putt down for a par. (E/1/1/2)

Eleven, a 404-yard par 4, didn't set up well for me visually, and I put my tee shot on the edge of the first bunker on the right. With an awkward stance from 175, I eased off of a 5I, hit it straight instead of fading it a little, and left myself a 40-foot putt. I rolled the putt to three feet and rapped it in. (E/1/2/4)

Twelve is a ducky 164-yard par 3 up a hill and into the breeze. I played a 3/4 5I and ended up pretty far left of the hole as the ball got stuck in the wind. The putt nearly lipped out, but I tapped in for par. (E/1/3/6)

Lucky number thirteen is a 380-yard par 4. I hit driver, feeling safe with all of the room to the left, and wound up in perfect shape in the middle of the fairway. My PW stuck 15 feet to the right of the pin and I played a tad too much break on the birdie putt. (E/2/4/8)

Fourteen nabbed me. My drive on this 397-yard par 4 found the center of the fairway, but my 7I, played to the center of the green to a mid-right flag, came up in the fringe and then bounced backwards into the bunker. I played the delicate sand shot to 12 feet past the hole and lipped out the par putt. Grrrrrr. (+1/3/4/10)

Fifteen is a beautiful hole that sets up really well for a draw. I did just that with my 3W, leaving myself a very soft 8I into a back left pin. The illustration doesn't capture the height of the green, which is about 15 feet above the water and the fairway to its right. My 8I flew straight at the center of the green and stuck. I rolled the 35-footer past the hole three feet and made the par putt. (+1/4/5/12)

The sixteenth is a beautiful par five that feels tighter than it is. I over played a draw and found myself between the bunkers on the left-hand side. I played a 5I straight into the wind, leaving myself 145 from the middle of the fairway. The pin was left, so I was going for the center of the green, but my 8I was twenty feet left of the pin (and 12 feet off the green). My LW chip plopped into the fringe and stuck there, and my par putt lipped around the hole - not even touching the flag - before I tapped in for a bogey. I was now one beyond my goal of shooting 76. (+2/4/5/14)

Seventeen is a nice hole that also sets up for a draw away from the bunker. With the pin mid-right, I was content to play to the middle of the green and have a putt at it. I hit my 6I a bit off the toe and came up 10 feet shy of the green, dangerously close to rolling another 20 feet back into the water. I chose an 8I to chip and run the ball to the hole, and, well, the darn thing rattled the pin, spun around the hole, and dove in. I was reminded of the "not having to putt: priceless" commercial. Back to +1 on the back! (+1/4/5/14)

Eighteen is a twisty, bendy 400-yard par 4 that offers plenty of opportunity for trouble - right on the drive and short on the approach. I played safe, hitting 3W to the center of the fairway from the tee. I planned to play at the center of the green and hit a draw to the back-left pin - the dangerous part of the green, which sits on top of a hill (the illustration again fails to demonstrate this). A gust of wind or a bit too much sidespin carried my ball pin-high and five feet into the rough. I needed to get up and down for that 76, and when my pitch left the club I thought I might end with a 75. It checked up a foot shy of the hole and I tapped in. (+1/4/5/15)

The totals:
Fairways: 4 + 4 = 8/14.
Greens: 7 + 5 = 12/18.
Putts: 18 + 15 = 33.
Score: 39 + 37 = 76.

If only a few putts had dropped, I'd have shot par. Pink's Humble Neighborhoods served as my "play song" today. It put me in just the right mood while driving to the course.

Did I tame the "Green Monster," "one of South Florida's top courses and most challenging layouts?" Nah. At 6500 yards, the name is a misnomer. I lost distance as well, given the sogginess of the track. On the plus side, I now know that my driver consistently flies between 255 and 260 yards. 🙂

I could see how, if you were having a horrible day, the course could be brutal. As it stands, though, I played one of the best rounds of golf at every chance. I played safe, smart golf and never got out of control. My focus was there on all but four or five shots (the ones I goofed up). I've got great confidence going into Saturday's round at the Dye course at PGA Village.