Pucker factor 10 or “Schadenfreude, get your Schadenfreude here!”

Oh vey, yesterday kinda sucked.  I had a brilliant idea a few months ago to sign up for a golf tournament.  Not just any golf tourney, a Northern California Golf Association qualifier, for the Public Links championship.  Now, I’ve been able to keep my golf game in ok shape for a very long time but haven’t played in an honest to goodness legit tournament since the spring of 1987, the Stockton City Amateur.  25 years ago folks.  I’ve played in intramural tournaments, charity tourney’s, member guest events and for small amounts of money with friends but not for real in a very long time.  This is a tournament where they post your score on the internet for all to see, which seemed like a good idea at the time.  You know, see where you stand, compete against others of your similar ability, yadda yadda yadda.

Bad idea.

Because while I can still hit the ball well and score on certain courses, when they announce your name on the first tee and you are looking to qualify to play at Spyglass Hill for two days later on in the summer, should you play well, your (or mine at least) mind will get in your way if you haven’t done this in 25 freakin’ years.

Now, let’s be clear.  I was NOT in the Championship flight.  That was reserved for the bad boys with a handicap of 5.4 or lower.  Those dudes can play and the top 3 qualified with rounds of 74 and 75.  That is NOT me. Yet. Or maybe never now.  I rolled in with an 11 for the course, the venerable Alistair MacKenzie course at Haggin Oaks.  Alistair MacKenzie designed Augusta National people, along with Cypress Point and Pasatiempo here in California.  (Wikipedia link here).  The course has been rebuilt to try to get it back to where Dr. MacKenzie wanted it and I think I found that out yesterday.  In a practice round on Tuesday, I threw an 88 at the course, having not played it in 5-6 years. Not bad I thought and I would have been happy with that yesterday.

Not so fast, suckah.

First and last, they rolled the greens.  Which means that instead of mowing them (I think they didn’t mow them) they took a little machine and just smoooooooothed them out a bit.  And made them faster.  I get it, it’s a tournament, let’s find out how good everyone is.  But dude, let’s put the damn hole in a place that is fair, please.  Not on the side of a freakin mountain slope.  Half of the holes were in some of the more difficult locations, the other half were only a bit easier.  Crazy part was, they could have made it even more difficult, and I would have still been trying to putt out.  This was windmill and clown territory boys and girls.  Faster than… insert your cliche here.

That’s the course set up, difficult but, meh, I could have dealt with that had I not had a problem between my ears.  As Romeo said to Tin Cup: The Mental Game

Shanks.  I got the effing shanks.  Again, cue Tin Cup:  Chili Peppers

Didn’t know when it would show up, couldn’t trust my swing and/or putter and that’s no fun when it happens on the first flipping’ hole.  And you’ve got 17 more to go.  It was straight outta Tin Cup, the scene where Costner is practicing and suddenly get’s the shanks.  I put a new glove on, changed ball markers, almost got my keys out of my bag and put in my other pocket while turning my had sideways.  See it here:  

Scorecard:  6 outstanding shanks, 3-4 more close ones, 2 four putt greens, 4 three putt greens and two 280 plus yard drives (that was mostly working at least).  And it could have been a bit worse if I had not settled down occasionally and made a few putts.  And to think that was working well right up until I got the shanks/shakes.

Parred the last hole for a 99.  Lovely day, 5.5 hours of grinding and really wanting to just walk of the damn course, chuck a few clubs and cuss like an Mother F$#@@%!@er.  But I’m not 25 anymore and I haven’t walked off a course since I was about 18, still embarrasses me to think about that.  It was nice being in a tournament like this, because the other guys were struggling too but I didn’t want to act like an ass and blow it for them.  Keeps you in check a bit.

Yes, I let a few slip, I’m only human but I was quiet about it.

Lessons learned:

Keep your flippin’ expectations low when you haven’t played in a tourney in 25 years.
If you are hitting shanks on the driving range, go get some beer for your bag.
If you don’t get beer, make sure you have cash in your bag to buy some on the course.
Play more golf on difficult courses to be ready for greens like these.
The amateurs who play in the ATT at Pebble Beach are studs, if they can handle those courses and not look like a MFing fool.
It don’t matter what kind of equipment you have in your bag, you still gotta swing the club and hit the ball on the flat part of the face.

Because, dear friends: There are a whole bunch of Triple Bogeys out there waiting to grab your skinny white (brown/black/whatever) ass.  And I found a bunch of them.

Thanks for listening, please enjoy your Schadenfreude, today it’s on me.

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