How Emma changed my game.

with 2 Comments

Well I had myself quite the three day weekend. I spent a ton of time with my three favorite ladies in what was an excellent holiday break!

The highlight of the weekend took place on Sunday where I got the absolute pleasure of having a Daddy/Daughter Day with my oldest Emma. We had all kids of things planned, park, lunch, some shopping but what we were both looking forward to the most was going to Callaway Golf Center and hitting some balls!

We headed there first trying to avoid the hottest part of the afternoon, and it was beautiful out. The sky was blue, there was a slight breeze in the air that just added a nice level of comfort so you weren’t so hot fully exposed in the direct sun. It was gorgeous out.  This was the first time I had been to the range since discussing with Dustin what went wrong at Conestoga and I was very eager to get out there grab the driver and get busy. But, the smarter part of my brain took over and said let’s get loose and hit some balls before you grab your driver.

Everything was going fine, I was hitting some really clean shots and all in all I felt great. I worked though the majority of my irons and then my Hybrid and 3Wood. At last I was finally at the point I was so anxious to get to it. A little wider stance, get that left shoulder up and away from being parallel and let ‘er rip! Right away I could feel the difference and after a few minor tweaks here and there, mainly ball position and how wide to be, the ball just started taking off! It was still fading a bit but nowhere near as erratic as it was at Conestoga. Most of them would have been playable for sure.

So I ended up hitting almost two large buckets and I could tell by the end that Emma was exhausted. She goes through buckets rather quickly, which in time I will break her of, but right now she’s having so much fun it’s hard to lay down the law! She did set a new record for balls reaching the green. Her previous record was 1 and this time she managed 8. The green is about 60 yards away and all of them were on the roll, but she was happy and I was happy for her! Love seeing her smile and jumping up and down when she does well!

After we left Callaway we ran some errands and were  just about to head home when I asked her if she would like to go ride in a golf cart with me and watch me play some golf. Her first response was typical for a 6 year old “Boring!” Dang it I thought to myself. This was a great opportunity to spend some good quality time with her and also get in some golf on an amazing day. “Ok” I replied and as we headed home about 5 minutes later, in almost a twist of the golfing Gods fate, a little voice from the purple booster seat in the back seat spoke out. “Dad? I think I’d like to watch you play golf now.” WOO HOO was my initial reaction and that almost doubled when I realized we were a block away from Legacy Golf Club. $25 dollar twilight tee time paid for and off we went to the first hole!

I really didn’t think I get in more than nine holes. It was 3:45pm and as nice as the weather was out I was sure the course was going to be packed. That wasn’t the case at all, well at least the front nine. The first tee I got backed up on was 6 and then 8, but it was hard to complain I was having a great round and even better I was with my Daughter and she was having a blast!

OK, let me go back a little bit and talk about the front nine. My first tee shot was straight down the pipe, but again the same issue that was present at Conestoga was with me at Legacy. I popped it up and the distance suffered. I hit a really good approach shot with my 6i from 185 and left myself a short little pitch/chip onto the green. That shot went a little too long and I had a tricky downhill 10 footer that I just missed. The second hole at Legacy is a Par 3 that was playing 181 yards. I had just hit my 6i from almost that same distance and it came up a little short so at 5 yards shorter it was a no brainer for me, same club! I wish I would have taken the picture of that divot it was even closer than the one on #6 that’s to follow shortly. The ball didn’t check up at all and rolled through the green about 5″ into the first cut of rough. It wasn’t that difficult of a shot, probably 35′ or so, uphill breaker from right to left. Well I murdered the ball and blew it past the hole by some 12′. Two putts later and I had my second bogey in as many holes. The next two holes I played almost identically. Popped up tee shots, two great approach shots (both with my Hybrid) that came up a little short, two poorly executed pitch shots and a couple of bad putting reads and I had recorded back to back doubles.

The 5th hole is a down hill par 5and it was on that tee box that I for the first time took a deep breath, calmed down a little and clobbered the ball with my driver. The ball stayed clear of the fairway but not by much. It come to rest about 260 yards from the tee box and considering I had zero roll on that I was really happy! I didn’t try to do anything stupid, instead I grabbed my 7i and hit a nice punch hook to the middle of the fairway. That left me with 75 yards to the flag. There is a nasty little valley in the front of the green and I didn’t want to be in there at all and with the pin placement in the back I knew I had some room to work with. Bad thing was I caught it a little fat and just barely made the green. The three putt there hurt, 40′ feet uphill and I didn’t come close.

I’m so prone to taking that disappointment with me to the next tee box and it has seriously wrecked some potentially decent rounds of golf. I caught a break though. The 6th is  Par 3 that was playing 165 yards on Sunday. It a pretty hole tucked back in a corner with some truly beautiful homes to ogle at. The hole was a little backed up and that gave me a chance to calm down and better yet spend some time with Emma. She came up onto the tee box with me and we just hung out talking about golf and the rabbits and the trash people had left behind that was bad for the Earth. I was completely removed from the game for 5 minutes and when it came time for me to hit I made an alignment change for the breeze and swung away with my 7i.

 

 

Easily one of the best shots I’ve ever hit. I made the putt and went on to #7 on a great high!

I finished the front shooting 46 and would have been ecstatic if we would have left, but I really didn’t want to, I was having a great round. I turned to Emma and asked her “Well, do you want to keep going or are you done for today?”  Her reply almost made me cry “Why would we stop? We still have 10, 11 ,12 ,13, 14, 15, 16, 17 & 18 to go.” That’s all I needed to hear. She was writing down the scores for me on my scorecard so for her it was an unfinished project and for me it was unfinished business!

I didn’t play the back as well and the front at least it felt that way. I was still hitting some good tee shots, but on 11 I pulled the ball left and had to take an unplayable, first penalty of the day, and then on 12 I hit honestly my worst tee shot of the day, I was a banana slice that put me way too far from making a good score. The 12th is a severe dogleg to the left, so right is the last place you want to be. I had to punch out of the rocks and that got me to about 110 yards to the green and I, again, caught my AW just a little fat and came up short of the green. Then after hitting a neat little flop to get up onto the green I pushed my putt to the right. Bad hole.

The final hole of The Devils Triangle didn’t disappoint. I pulled my tee shot yet again and had to take a drop. Lucky for me it was a lateral hazard and I got to drop where the ball passed into the ditch. I was 119 yards out, I grabbed my PW and proceeded to hit the ball to within 8″! That felt so good. I wish I would have taken a picture of that one. It was real close! Tap in Par with a penalty, not the way you want to make a par, but I’ll take it.

After 14 I was nervous that we wouldn’t finish, the sun was going down rather quickly and the group that was in front of us was letting their little golfer partake in some of the tee box activities which was really starting to slow us down. It would be my luck to be playing a round that more than likely was going to get me under 20 as far as my handicap goes and then not be able to finish, so yeah, I was worried.

I don’t know how true this is but I strongly believe that every course has a nemesis hole and for me Legacy has been kind enough to provide me with two of them. #9 and #15. Nine I handled ok, but as I tee’d my ball up on 15 I was panic’d a little. This was a make or break hole for me and as I was waiting for the group in front of us to clear I looked over at Emma and she smiled at me with nothing but love in her heart and said “Hit a good one Dad.” and gave me a thumbs up. It would have been rude of me not to do what she asked! That little comment broke all my tension, released all my anxiousness and I was more focused than ever!

 

 

That was with my 5i from 196 yards! If the shot on #7 was one of my best, this topped it. Two tap in birdies in one round that’s a new achievement for me!

I finished off the back with Birdie, Double, Bogey & Par to shot a 45. Totaling 91. So close to 89 I could taste it!  We wrapped things up just in time, I’m pretty sure the group behind us wasn’t going to have enough light to finish. It was the perfect end cap to an amazing day. Birdie would have been better, but I’m going to take the 91 and run with it!

I want to say a special thank you to (if I screw up your names I apologize, I’m kicking myself right now for not being 100% about this) Chris, Tony and their Mother for putting up with Emma and I as we made our way around the course. We met up with them on the 8th tee box and finish off the round playing along side them. Really good people that were out having a good time, that’s nice to see. Thanks for letting my daughter play along with us and not be bothered by it and if you were, for not letting it be know. Very classy and again I thank you guys! We both had a great time!

So I’ve finally done it. I’ve gotten my handicap under 20! 19.6 to be exact and hopefully that will be getting lower as the rounds come. The biggest lesson I learned out their on Sunday came from my Daughter, I have to learn to relax and take the game as it comes. At first I was a little upset with myself that it took a 6 year old to show me how to relax stay calm and enjoy they game, but now sitting here typing this a few days have passed and I can tell ya, it’s freaking AWESOME! Love you Emma!

 

Follow Mathew Wangrycht:

Writer and founder of the golf blog The Breakfast Ball. My wife will tell you I'm obsessed with the game, she's right! It's that obsession which drives me to become a better player and make this site enjoyable for everyone.

2 Responses

  1. Three Guys Golf Blog
    | Reply

    nice! Out of curiosity, what is the slope and rating of the course you play?

    • Mathew
      | Reply

      The Blue tee’s at Legacy play 71.3/131 at 6,744 yards.

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