Sunday, July 19, 2015

Wilted at Walnut Lane

Walnut Lane Golf Club
Philadelphia, Pa.
Yards: 2173/2098 - 4271
Par: 31/31 - 62
Rating: 59.9, Slope: 91
Score: 53/45 = 98
Date: July 18, 2015

Hoping to reverse my current golfing fortunes, and armed with 10 new additions to my golf bag, I teed it up at Walnut Lane Golf Club. Tucked into the Wissahickon Valley, which is part of the Philadelphia's Fairmount Park, Walnut is owned by the city, but operated by a non-profit entity. Designed by legendary designer Alex Findlay and opened in 1940, it is a short course, but challenging through its tight, tree-lined fairways, hills and valleys, and unique Par 3s.

Walnut Lane Scorecard
Saturday's weather was extremely hot and humid, one of the hottest of the summer so far. Still, as I stood on the first tee, I had a good feeling a about my round. That lasted all of one hole. After a benign bogey at the short Par 4 First Hole, I hooked my tee shot at the Par 3 Second Hole. Unable to find my ball, I took a drop and made a 7. At the Third Hole, another short Par 4 that doglegs left, I hit three consecutive tee shots left; the first two out-of-bounds.That led to an 11. Three lost balls in two holes. All season I have been searching for my customary draw, or right-to-left shot. On Saturday, my shot was right-to-Fore, Left! At the long, downhill 218-yard Par 3 Fourth Hole, I hit the ball over the green and it naturally cam to rest on top of a pile of sticks. That led to a double-bogey 5, but considering the way the previous two holes had gone, I wasn't too disappointed. The Fifth Hole is a 184-yard Par 3 that doglegs left over a deep valley. After pulling my tee shot left--notice the theme here--I hit chipped over a waste are onto the green and two-putted for a bogey. At the Sixth Hole, I hit my tee shot fat, which led to a triple bogey 6. At the Seventh Hole, a downhill, 357-yard Par 4, I hit my Driver left, then pulled my 4-hybrid left and out-of bounds. Fourth lost day in seven holes! I dropped and hit it again to the back of the green, then two-putted for a 6 instead of a par. At the short Par 3 Eighth Hole, I found the green off the tee and two-putted for my first par and second decenty hole of the day. A double-bogey 6 ended the front nine with 53.

The Eleventh Tee looking down from the green
At this point, I was drenched in sweat and my legs were beginning to feel the effects of the heat and the hills. But I was determined to try and turn things around on the back nine. At the Tenth, I skyed by tee shot left and very short, which led to a 7. The Eleventh Hole is  tight, up-hill Par 3, where I hooked my tee shot for another lost ball and made a 5. The twelfth is a dogleg left that plays over a ravine off the tee. I hit a draw off the tee and made a 5. At the Thirteenth Hole, a short 125-yard Par 3, I sat for about 10 minutes and made a bottle of nuun energy drink. Of course, when I did resume, I hit my tee shot left and made a 4. At the Fourteenth Hole, a 147-yard Par 3, I uncharacteristically pushed my tee shot short a right, then chunked my pitch shot. Needed to hit my third shot between two bunkers, I lobbed it up and onto to the green, where it tracked all the way to cup and dropped it for a par!!!! Buoyed by this, I was determined to grind out the round and break 100! A decent tee shot at the 340-yard dogleg right Fifteenth Hole left me with a 8-iron into the green, but I came short, took two shots to chip on and made a 6. I made bogeys and the back-to-back Par 3 Sixteenth and Seventeenth Holes. Standing on the tee at the 360-yard Par 4 Eighteenth Hole, I went back and forth between hitting my Driver or 4-Wood. I choose Driver and hit it left for my sixth lost ball of the day. I hit my third shot just short of the green, then took four more shots for a 7 and a back nine 45. But I had grinded it out and I had broken 100! No small feat for me lately.

The chip shot I holed at the Fourteenth
Other than my putting, don't quit attitude and somehow breaking 100, there is very little positive I take away from this round. My tee shots were horrible, my irons were poor and most of my short game was weak. I definitely need to get to the practice range this week to try and find an answer so I can begin to turn this season around before it is too late.