Monday, July 11, 2011

A Recovery Round at Juniata

Juniata Golf Club
Philadelphia, Pa
Yards: 2805/2185 - 4990
Par: 34/31 - 65
Rating: 63.2, Slope: 106
Score: 43/49 = 92
Date: July 10, 2011

After my poor play in the Poconos, I decided I would try to get my game back on track with a round on the familiar fairways of Juniata Golf Club. So Sunday afternoon I teed it up trying to find the consistent swing that had carried through the first half dozen rounds of this season. As I had posted earlier, I made some changes to my arsenal, replacing my 4-Wood, 3-hybrid,, 4-iron and putter. In their place were a 3- and 5-Wood, 4-hybrid and a more traditional blade putter. I also wanted to try out a move move that I have added to my pre-shot routine  in which after addressing the ball, I rehearse my club takeaway to get a feel for the club moving back away from the ball. I had noticed Kevin Streelman doing this on the practice and during his round at the recent AT&T National range at Aronimink Golf Club. I had worked on this move during my time at the practice range last week.

 Juniata Scorecard

 I met up with Tim and Darnell on the First Tee to form a threesome for the round. My round started outwell with a 7-iron onto the green, and although I three-putter, I felt very good about my stroke. Tim gave me a small putting tip on the first green and it seemed to help me throughout the round. I went back to a more normal stance and ball positioning for my putting, which also seemed to help. After my bogey at the First, I made pars at the Second and Third Holes, and just missed a third consecutive par at the Fourth Hole after I missed the green to the right with my approach shot from the left rough. An overhooked tee shot at the Fifth Hole led to a double bogey when I lipped out my bogey putt, and I bogeyed the Sixth Hole after finding the left rough with my tee shot. A good drive combined with a good up-and-down from the right fringe gave me another Par at the Seventh Hole, but I closed with back-to-back double bogeys for a 43 on the front nine.  I felt my swing was much better than it had been the two previous rounds and I was making my short putts for a change. With this confidence I headed to Juniata's second nine.

 The Fourth Hole's new fairway bunker

After missing the green right at the Par 3 Tenth Hole, I made a bogey, followed by two more at the Eleventh and Twelfth Holes. At the Par 3 Thirteenth, I again just missed the green to the right, but got up-and-down for my fourth par of the round. I followed that with a hybrid off the Fourteenth tee to just in front of the green, chipped on and two-putted for my fifth par of the day. Then the fun began. The Fifteenth Hole has become something of a mental block for me. Afraid of overcooking my draw out on to Wyoming Avenue, I instead push the ball way right, making it almost impossible to salvage bogey, let alone par. This round was no exception as I hit it into a sand pile and took a triple bogey. The Sixteenth Hole now features a new tee box, which sits back high and above the old one, stretching the hole to 400 yards. It has also eliminated the right side, and for someone like me who draws the ball, has left a tiny window through which to hit your tee shot. I pushed my first two shots off the tee into the woods on the right. I then took drops on the women's tee below and proceeded to dump three more balls into a natural area that has been grown in front of the tee. As I heard chants of "Tin Cup, Tin Cup, Tin Cup" in my head, I finally hit my eleventh shot--a 6-iron--to about 90 yards, wedged on and two-putted for a 14! Although disappointed that the score had ruined my round, I quickly regrouped and made bogeys at the final two holes, including a decent up-and-down from the left bunker at the Par 3 Eighteenth Hole. I back nine 49--which included 20 strokes on the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Holes alone--left me with a 92 for the round.

 The new tee at the Sixteenth Hole

Overall, I played 16 holes really well and two holes really bad. My swing was as close to the best as it has been all season. I got off the tee well, hit my irons crisply, made mist of my chips and pitches, and putted about as well as I have so far this year. I now believe that the two poor rounds I played in the Poconos were just a hiccup as opposed to a decline in my game. The new tee at the Sixteenth Hole will require me to adopt a new strategy of hitting a mid-iron off the tee, with a longer approach shot to the green.  I think a visit to the practice green this week will be beneficial in helping me build on the improved putting from this latest round.
Photos by The Muni Golfer


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