Friday, 21 April 2017

Carl the Chipper

It was opening day today at our course today and it rained all night which made it cartpath only for those of us needing to ride. The course was soaked and the greens were covered in a thick dew and adorned with worms when we set out, making putting a bit difficult. But the course is in great shape.

I played with Carl the Grumbler and Levi; and Carl declined to play for the usual two bucks, saying this was his first round of the year and he'd probably shoot 85. Levi was willing to play for the big money wanting only four shots. So, it was game on.

Every round you either learn something new; or relearn something you'd forgotten. And playing with Carl I once again learned the merits of chipping the ball along the ground wherever possible. Bobby Jones believed spinning shots and pitches were best only to be used when there was an obstacle you needed to pitch over to get to the flag. He wasn't a believer in using spin, or getting unnecessarily fancy.

Carl is the same way. He is absolutely deadly around the greens, running the ball up to the pin using a variety of clubs; and today was no exception. He hit, I don't know how many, chips stone dead today. Unfortunately, however, his long game was off starting out, and he was pushing his putts, so he went out in 46; which is about as high as I've ever seen him shoot. 

On the back, Carl made seven pars to go along with a double and a bogey for 39. That's right; he shot 85 on the nose. Perhaps he should have said he intended to shoot 72 instead. I went out in 39 and came home in 38. Nothing to write home about, but I did try chipping the ball with a variety of different clubs around the greens instead of using my wedge and trying to get fancy. And it worked pretty damned well. I just missed a few short putts.

So, I learned two things today. First, don't pitch the ball, or try to spin it with a wedge around the greens, unless you have to. Leave the fancy shots to Phil. If you have to pick a flavour for your shots around the greens, as Harvey Penick wrote, "Make it vanilla." Secondly, it won't be long before I'll have to worry about Carl taking my money. And, I guess I learned a third thing. I shouldn't give up my day job.

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