Tuesday, 4 July 2017

The Eighteenth

In golf, just like in life, it ain't over 'til it's over. You can be having a great round, but you have to finish it off. And we've got a terrific little par three to finish the round at Picton that has provided for some great--and not-so-great--finishes over the years.

At 155 yards from the whites and about 175 from the blues, eighteen at Picton is certainly not that imposing from the standpoint of length. It's a great finishing hole to have because it has a steep bank at the back of the green that serves as a natural vantage point for fans, as does the clubhouse deck which overlooks the green and the travails below.

With out of bounds and the lake close on the right, and nothing but misery on the left, eighteen is one of those holes. It gives up holes in one and birdies often enough; but it also forces some very ugly sixes and sevens to occur with regularity. While you can hit the green with a good shot, there aren't any real good places to miss it. It's that kind of a hole.

Perhaps my fondest memory of eighteen was in one of my first Quinte Cups. I was tied in my match and, fearing the out of bounds because of a healthy wind blowing towards the lake, I yanked my tee shot left of the cartpath and halfway up the hill under a tree. You could hear the crowd murmering as I surveyed my next shot from under the tree. You could sense that everyone thought I was dead. I wasn't exactly brimming with confidence myself.

I decided that my only real option was chipping a six iron through the bunker and onto the green, playing away from the back pin. The play worked and the ball skipped up the face of the bunker and onto the green about thirty feet from the pin. I then made the putt and won my match. It was no big deal, in the grand scheme of things, but that par had called for imagination and determination; something often sadly lacking in my usual game. So, I remember it fondly.

This year, eighteen has been the scene of some great play by other players to beat me. Steve made a birdie on top of my birdie a week or so ago to beat me. Randy Coates chipped in for a birdie to beat me in a match a couple of days later. And Ken Murray made a great up and down for a par, net birdie, to close out John David Lipson and I in a match with he and Robert yesterday. Ken used his hybrid to chip it from a very dodgy lie in the thick collar behind the green. John David and I both failed to get ours up and down from a similar spot using our wedges. 

Ken will likely remember that up and down fondly as well. Eighteen is a terrific hole. It giveth, and it taketh away. But it tends to provide some drama, one way or the other. I love it. The patrons of our restaurant seem to like it too.