Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Trouble Shots

I don't know about everyone else, but I really enjoy getting myself in a predicament on the golf course. When I'm stuck behind, or under, a tree, or my ball is in a divot, or plugged in a bunker, I kind of get excited.  

That may sound a bit strange, but those unusual situations are the ones that really make the game interesting.  Those situations force you to think.  They test your skill, and your mettle.  No one wants too many of those trouble shots, but golf would surely be a lot less interesting without them.  

Many of my most memorable shots are ones where I was, for all intents and purposes, well and truly in jail.  Making the great escape by being able to use imagination and a bit of skill made me feel, at least at the time, like a real golfer.

I was thinking today about a Quinte Cup match a few years ago at our club.  I was all square heading to the last hole.  It's a par three with the lake, and OB stakes on the right.  On the left is a hillock in front and a bunker alongside the green.  Behind the green is a hill where, in events like this, the crowd can sit and watch, along with those gathered on the clubhouse deck.  

I pulled my tee shot long and left, halfway up the hill and under a tree.  It appeared that I was dead, and my opponent was surely feeling pretty confident, having hit the green with his tee shot.  The murmurs in the crowd left me no doubt that they thought my goose was cooked as well.  After some consideration, I realized my only option was to play a six iron away from the pin, through the bunker, and hopefully onto the green leaving myself, at best, a lengthy putt.  Sure enough, the ball scooted through the bunker and ended up about thirty feet from the hole, leaving me a downill left to right breaking putt.  

I made the putt and remained all square.  I enjoyed the applause from the crowd, but I was much more satisfied with the fact that I had used my imagination, and a great deal of determination, to secure the half when no one would have given me a chance.  Those are the shots, and putts, I think you need to remember.  Not because it took great skill to do it.  It just took some imagination, determination, and perhaps, a bit of luck.

Spiros played a match with me one time and actually hit an almost-fully submerged ball out of the edge of the pond on number ten to save a par.  That was years ago now, but we still laugh about it.  It was an alternate shot match and his partner thought he was crazy, wading into the water to play that shot.  But, it's amazing what can be accomplished in this game if you really put your mind to it and don't give up.

And who is the best in the game right now at getting it up and down from anywhere?  I think you'd have to give the nod to Jordan Spieth.  He wins because he's not only talented, he tries the hardest. There's a lot to be said for not giving up in this game.  Bobby Jones not only felt he won because he tried harder than everyone else, he also said the best advice he ever received was from Harry Vardon.  Vardon said, "No matter what happens, just keep hitting it."  

I love those trouble shots.  Don't you?