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Saturday, 2 July 2016

Matches With Levi

If you're paying attention, you generally learn something every time you play.  On the other hand, you often seem to have to learn the same lessons over and over again until they stick.  

I played back to back matches with Levi this weekend.  He's a fun guy to play with and has a nine handicap.  He's a young fellow--a flat-belly--and we'd played a couple of times before. But this was the first time we'd decided to play match play.  On the first day we agreed that I'd give him six shots.  

In the end, I won four and two.  This was partially thanks to the fact that Levi couldn't make anything on the front nine.  He was catching edges, but nothing would go in.  I ended up three up with four to play only because Levi made a ten footer to have the fourteenth hole.  On fifteen Levi made a great up and down for par, only to have me make a twenty footer for birdie to halve the hole and be dormie.

So today I gave Levi seven shots and he was a different man right from the start.  He was making pars instead of bogeys and he eventually ended up two up with two to play.  I managed to win the seventeenth with a par after Levi missed a five footer for the win.  But today was Levi's day.  He finished me off with a nice birdie on 18 to win two up.  

Once again, I learned that I need to trust my swing.  As is so often the case, I found myself experimenting with my swing just enough to get myself behind the eight ball.  I seem to still need to accept the fact that my natural swing is the best one for me.  It may result in a lower ball flight than I'd like.  It may also tend to produce right to left shots when I prefer a fade.  But it is my swing, and it seems to get the job done about as well as can be expected for an old fart.  I'd still love to swing like Freddie Couples.  But there's only one Freddie.

Levi learned a couple of things as well.  He learned that he needs to pick a small target off the tee, not just try to hit it out there somewhere in the fairway.  He learned that he can make a ten footer when he needs it to stay in a match.  He learned that he can get it up and down from a tough spot to keep a match alive.  And he learned that he can make a birdie on eighteen to finish me off.  After today he says he feels pretty good about his chances with seven strokes.  Too bad that it's going back to six the next time we play.

We both really enjoyed our matches.  I foresee the day coming when Levi will be playing me straight up.  In fact, the day might just come when he's giving me strokes.  And, you know, that wouldn't necessarily be such a bad thing.