Monday, July 6, 2015

A Slow Byrne

John F. Byrne Golf Club
Philadelphia, Pa.
Yards: 2273/2658 - 4931
Par: 33/34 - 67
Rating: 63.9, Slope: 116
Score: 50/52 = 102
Date: July 5, 2015

Hoping to change the declining fortunes of my golf game, I played a round at one the Philadelphia-owned courses, John F. Byrne Golf Club in the Northeast. Originally built as Holmesburg Country Club, Byrne winds through a valley with the Torresdale creek coming into play on no less than ten holes, including the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, Seventeenth and Eighteenth.

John F. Byrne Scorecard

Hoping to switch up my luck, I put an old 3-wood (TaylorMade Burner), my Callaway X-Hot 7-wood, Wilson Staff RS 4-Hybrid and Odyssey XG #9 putter into the bag. Unfortunately, other than my putting, which improved greatly from my previous rounds, nothing much changed in my game.

The tee shot at the First Hole

Although I pulled my opening tee shot left, I still had a shot at the green, but came up short on my approach and made double bogey. I redeemed myself at the Par 3 Second Hole, where I missed the green right, but chipped on and two-putted for a 4. At the Par 4 Fourth Hole, where you have hit your tee shot over the creek through an opening in the treeline, I managed to find the green in two, but missed short putt--one the few short putts I missed during the round--and made a 5. Unfortunately, that was sandwiched by a 7 and 6 on two of the easiest Par 4s on the course: the Third and Fifth Holes. I made bogeys and the Par 3 Sixth and Eight Holes and double bogeyed the easy 242-yard Par 4 Seventh Hole, before making a disastrous 8 at the Ninth Hole. It added up to a Front Nine 50.

The tight drive at the Fourth Hole

Again, my tee shots were a major cause of my poor play. I hit several tee shots off the heel of the club, putting in a poor position. My second shots were often not much better and my chipping was tentative at best. No excuses, but we had an extremely slow three-some in front of me and my playing partner, 84-year-old Bob, who more than held his own off the tee. The threesome became a five-some at the Tenth Hole, and the prospects for a quicker Back Nine looked grim.

The tee shot at the Tenth Hole

After finding the fairway with my 3-wood off the Tenth, I made a 5, At the Eleventh, the five-some mercifully allowed Bob and I to play through. I made a double bogey after coming up short on the uphill Par 3, then took two shots to chip on. At the Par 5 Twelfth Hole, I began a three-hole stretch that started to give me some hope. I hit driver off the tee and found the left side of the fairway, just in the rough. But my 7-wood went right and hit a tree. I punched out to just inside 100 yards, then wedged on and two-putted for a good bogey 6. I made my only par of the day at the very short, 89-yard Thirteenth (lucky for me) by hitting into the middle of the green and two-putting. At the long, 219-yard Par 3 Fourteenth Hole, I hit my tee shot right of the green, in the Twelfth fairway. I pitched on and two-putted for a 4 on a fairly difficult hole. It was the last decent hole I played. It took my 29 shots to play the last four holes. My legs were gone in the humid weather and I limped in with a Back Nine 52 and disappointing total of 102.

The Par 3 Eleventh Hole

As I stated earlier, my putting was much improved using the Odyssey XG #9. I missed only one short putt, which has been my achilles so far this season. Those missed short putts have turned numerous pars into bogeys, bogeys into double bogeys and even doubles into triples. But that wasn't the case at Byrne. I am however, really struggling off the tee, whether it be the driver, fairway wood, hybrid or iron, but especially with the driver. After the round, I removed some lead tape I had put on the bottom of my TaylorMade Aero Burner Driver and I hope that might help with the problem. I also think I need to use the driver less off the tee in favor of my Adams Golf 4-wood--which is now back in the bag--until I get more consistent. Perhaps a session at the practice range is in order.
Photos by The Muni Golfer


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